Shimshack, Jay P. and Ward, Michael B. (2010): Mercury advisories and household health trade-offs.
Download (279kB) | Preview
The conventional economic wisdom is that improving consumer information will enhance welfare. Yet, some scientists speculate that the Food and Drug Administration's prominent 2001 mercury in fish advisory may have harmed public health. Lower mercury intakes reduce neurological toxicity risks. However, since seafood is the predominant dietary source of healthful omega-3 fatty acids, reduced fish consumption may have significant offsetting health impacts. We explore this risk trade-off using a rich panel of household-level seafood consumption data. To control for confounding factors, we use a non-parametric changes-in-changes approach. We find strong evidence that while the advisory reduced mercury loadings, it did so at the expense of substantial reductions in healthful omega-3s. We find this response pattern even for consumers with low fish consumption. Using advisory response patterns as inputs into a prominent risk assessment model, the central estimate is that net benefits from the advisory were negative.
|Item Type:||MPRA Paper|
|Original Title:||Mercury advisories and household health trade-offs|
|Keywords:||food safety; mercury; fish; omega-3 fatty acids; advisory; public health; health information|
|Subjects:||D - Microeconomics > D1 - Household Behavior and Family Economics > D12 - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I18 - Government Policy ; Regulation ; Public Health
Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics ; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q5 - Environmental Economics > Q53 - Air Pollution ; Water Pollution ; Noise ; Hazardous Waste ; Solid Waste ; Recycling
|Depositing User:||Michael B. Ward|
|Date Deposited:||10. May 2010 12:53|
|Last Modified:||23. Feb 2013 06:19|
Ackman, R.G. (2000). Fatty Acids in Fish and Shellfish. In: Chow, C. (Ed.) Fatty Acids in Foods and their Health Implications. Basel, Switzerland, Marcel Dekker.
Asche, F. and T. Bjørndal (1999). Demand elasticities for fish and seafood: A review. Centre for Fisheries Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Technical Report, 1999.
Athey, S. and G.W. Imbens (2006). Identification and Inference in Nonlinear Difference-in-Differences Models. Econometrica, 74, 431-97.
Brown, D.J. and L.F. Schrader (1990) Cholesterol information and shell egg consumption. American J. of Agricultural Economics, 72, 548.
Carrington, C.D. and P.M. Bolger (2002). An Exposure Assessment for Methylmercury from Seafood for Consumers in the United States. Risk Analysis, 22, 689-99.
Carrington, C.D., B. Montwill, and P.M. Bolger (2004). An Intervention Analysis for the Reduction of Exposure to Methylmercury from the Consumption of Seafood by Women of Child-bearing Age. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 40, 272-80.
Chern, W.S., E.T. Loehman and S.T. Yen (1995). Information, health risk beliefs, and the demand for fats and oils. Review of Economics and Statistics, 77, 555-64.
Cohen, J.T. et al. (2005). A Quantitative Risk-Benefit Analysis of Changes in Population Fish Consumption. American J. of Preventative Medicine, 29, 325-34.
Connelly, N.A. and B.A. Knuth (1998). Evaluating Risk Communication: Examining Target Audience Perceptions About Four Presentation Formats for Fish Consumption Health Advisory Information. Risk Analysis, 18, 649-59.
Egeland, G.M. and J.P. Middaugh (1997). Balancing Fish Consumption Benefits with Mercury Exposure. Science, 278, 1904-05.
Graham, J. and J. Wiener (1995). Risk versus Risk: Tradeoffs in Protecting Health and the Environment. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA.
Holub, D.J. and B.J. Holub (2004). Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils and cardiovascular disease, Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 263: 217-25.
Jakus, P., M. McGuinness, A. Krupnick (2002). The benefits and costs of fish consumption advisories for mercury. RFF Discussion Paper 02-55.
Jin, G., and P. Leslie (2003). The Effect of Information on Product Quality: Evidence from Restaurant Hygiene Grade Cards. Quarterly J. of Economics, 118, 409-51.
Hamilton, J. (1972). The demand for cigarettes: advertising, the health scare, and the cigarette advertising ban. Review of Economics and Statistics, 54, 401-11.
Hofstetter, P. and J.C. Bare and J.K. Hammitt, P.A. Murphy, and G.E. Rice (2002). Tools for comparative analysis of alternatives: competing or complementary perspectives? Risk Analysis, 22, 833-51.
Kahneman, D. (2003). Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics. American Economic Review, 93, 1449-75.
Kennedy, J. (2005). Herb and Supplement Use in the US Adult Population. Clinical Therapeutics, 27, 1847-58.
Kinnucan, H.W., H. Xiao, C.J. Hsia, and J.D. Jackson (1997). Effects of health information and generic advertising on US meat demand. American J. of Agricultural Economics, 79.
Kris-Etherton, J. et al. (2002). Fish Consumption, Fish Oil, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Cardiovascular Disease. Circulation, 106, 2747-57.
Kuchler, F. and A. Tegene. (2006). Did BSE Announcements Reduce Beef Purchases? Economic Research Service Report Number 34.
Lauritzen, L. et al. (2001). The essentiality of long-chain n-3 fatty acids in relation to development and function of the brain and retina. Progress Lipid Res., 40, 1-94.
Layton, L (2008). FDA Draft Report Urges Consumption of Fish, Despite Mercury Contamination. Washington Post, December 12, A-07.
Lino, M. (2006). Expenditures on Children and Families, 2005. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.
Madajewicz M., A. Pfaff, J. Graziano, A. van Geen, I. Hussein, H. Momotaj, R. Sylvi, and H. Ahsan (2007). Can Information Alone Both Improve Awareness and Change Behavior? Arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh. J. of Development Economics 84, 731-54.
Maheffy, K.R. (2004). Fish and shellfish as dietary sources of methylmercury and the n-3 fatty acids, eicosahexaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid: risks and benefits. Environmental Research, 95, 414-28.
May, H. and J. Burger (1996). Fishing in a polluted estuary: Fishing behavior, fish consumption, and potential risk. Risk Analysis, 16, 459-71.
Neuringer, M. et al. (1994). The role of n-3 fatty acids in visual and cognitive development. J. of Pediatrics, 125, S39-47.
Oken, E. et al. (2003). Decline in fish consumption among pregnant women after a national mercury advisory. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 102, 346-51.
Oken, E. et al. (2005). Maternal Fish Consumption, Hair Mercury, and Infant Cognition in a U.S. Cohort. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113, 1376-80.
Schlenker, W. and S. Villas-Boas. (2009). Consumer and Market Responses to Mad Cow Disease. American J. of Agricultural Economics, 91, 1140-52.
Schwarz, N., L. Sanna, I. Skurnik, and C. Yoon (2007). Metacognitive experiences and the intricacies of setting people straight: Implications for debiasing and public information campaigns. Advances in Experimental Social Psych., 39, 127-61.
Shimshack, J., M.B. Ward, and T.K.M. Beatty (2007). Mercury advisories: Information, education, and fish consumption. J. of Environmental Economics and Management, 53, 158-79.
Skurnik, I., C. Yoon, D.C. Park, and N. Schwarz (2005). How warnings about false claims become recommendations. J. of Consumer Research, 31, 713-24.
Smith, M.E., E.O. van Ravenswaay, and S.R. Thompson (1988) Sales loss determination in food contamination incidents: an application to milk bans in Hawaii. American J. of Agricultural Economics, 70, 513.
Stigler, G.J. and G.S. Becker (1977). De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum. American Economic Review, 67, 76-0.
Sunderland, E.M. (2007). Mercury exposure from domestic and imported estuarine and marine fish in the U.S. seafood market. Environmental Health Perspectives, 115, 235-42.
Thaler, R.H. (1992). The Winner's Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life. New York, Free Press.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (2006). USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 19. Washington, DC. USDA.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2000a). Economic Analysis of the Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 403. Washington, DC. December 21. USEPA.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2000b). Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analysis. Washington, DC. September. USEPA.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2000). Report Submitted to Interagency Working Group on Mercury Contamination: Findings from the Focus Group Testing of Mercury-in-Fish Messages. Washington, DC. USFDA.
U.S. National Academies, Food and Nutrition Board (2005). Seafood Choices: Balancing the Benefits and the Risks. Washington DC, National Academies Press.
Variyam, J. and J. Cawley (2006). Nutrition Labels and Obesity, NBER Working Paper 11956.
Viscusi, W. Kip (1990). Do Smokers Underestimate Risks? J. of Political Economy, 98, 1253-1269.
Viscusi, W. Kip (1997). Alarmist Decisions with Divergent Risk Information. Economic Journal, 107, 1657-70.
Warner, K. (1989). Effects of the antismoking campaign: an update. American J. of Public Health, 79, 144-51.
Waters, E.A., N.D. Weinstein, G.A. Colditz, and K. Emmons (2006). Formats for improving risk communication in medical tradeoff decisions, J. of Health Communication, 11, 167-82.
Available Versions of this Item
- Mercury advisories and household health trade-offs. (deposited 10. May 2010 12:53) [Currently Displayed]