Their set of original studies of household chemicals, energy audits, and food risk labeling establishes guidelines for the design and evaluation of these informational regulations.
How does risk labeling information on hazardous household chemicals and pesticides influence consumer behavior? While many studies speculate on the effects of risk information, Magat and Viscusi draw on a series of extensive surveys to assess the likely response. Their set of original studies of household chemicals, energy audits, and food risk labeling establishes guidelines for the design and evaluation of these informational regulations. Their findings also include new estimates of the valuation of nonfatal health risks, the first estimates in the literature of the role of altruism, and an assessment of the influence of irrational responses to risk.
Although economists suggest that giving consumers information about potentially hazardous goods is preferable to direct regulation of product content, implementation of information regulation raises a host of issues that need to be addressed. Magat and Viscusi document the cognitive limitations that consumers have in processing information and break new ground by showing how, given this behavior, the informational regulations should be designed.Case studies assess the degree to which different kinds of consumers notice, remember, and heed printed warnings in a range of wordings and formats. They then examine risk valuation, showing how much consumers are willing to pay for increased product safety under various conditions. A concluding chapter synthesizes the results and discusses their implications for regulatory policy.
Wesley A. Magat is Professor of Business Administration at Duke University
Hazardous chemical product labelling - methodology - methodology for the consumer surveys; hazardous chemical product labelling - risk valuation - risk valuations and the rationality of consumer behaviour, with Joel Huber, altruistic and private components of risk valuation, with Anne Forrest; hazardous chemical product labelling - cognitive processes and behaviour - consumer responses to risk information, with Joel Huber, effects of the format of labels on consumer responses to labels, with Joel Huber, the correspondence between actual and experimental behaviour; two studies of other applications of information regulation - home energy audits, with Peter F. Brucato, Jr., and John W. Payne, predicting the effects of food cancer risk warnings on consumers, implications for information provision policies. Appendices: toilet bowl cleaner/no children mall questionnaire; insect spray/no children mall questionnaire; narrative description of mall intercept questionnaire; telephone questionnaire; toilet bowl cleaner cards used with mall questionnaire; insect spray cards used with mall questionnaire; determinants of risk avoidance values; multivariate results; house description and home energy analysis input sheet; five formats of the home energy analysis reports; audit protocol for the five formats; two questionnaires.