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Abstract

New experimental economic methods are described and used to assess consumers' willingness to pay for food products that might be made from new transgenic and intragenic genetically modified (GM) traits. Participants in auctions are randomly chosen adult consumers in major US metropolitan areas and not college students. Food labels are kept simple and focus on key attributes of experimental goods. Diverse private information from the agricultural biotech industry (largely Monsanto and Syngenta), environmental groups (largely Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth) and independent third-party information is used to construct the information treatments. Food labels and information treatments are randomized, which is a deviation from traditional lab methods. Auctions are best described as sealed bid random n-th price and not the standard Vickery 2nd price auctions. I show that participants in these experiments respond to both food labels and information treatments, but no single type of information is dominant.

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