The Effects of Prior Beliefs and Learning on Consumers’ Acceptance of Genetically Modified Foods: Implications for Diet and Behavior

  • Wallace E. HuffmanEmail author
  • Matthew Rousu
  • Jason F. Shogren
  • Abebayehu Tegene


New food products made from genetically modified crops appeared in US supermarkets starting in 1996, and consumers perceived some risks. This paper shows how consumers’ prior beliefs about genetic modification and of diverse, new information affect their willingness to pay for foods that might be genetically modified. Evidence comes from food experiments. Individuals who have informed prior beliefs discount food products more highly than those who had uninformed prior beliefs. Uniformed participants seem to be more susceptible to information from interested and third parties. In contrast, informed participants seem not to be affected significantly by new information. Third-party information seems to be a moderating force on both biotech industry and environment group information. Recent experiments have shown that consumers will pay a premium for GM food products that have enhanced levels of antioxidants and vitamin C.


Genetically Modify Genetic Modification Genetically Modify Crop Interested Party Prior Belief 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Genetic modification


Genetically modified organism


Willingness to pay is the maximum amount that an individual is willing to pay for one unit of a good


Maximum household indirect utility as a function of household income (Y)

V(Y – L)

Maximum household indirect utility as a function of household income (Y) but subject to a lost (L)


The expected value of household utility (U)


The probability of a bad outcome under state of the world i = inf (decision maker has informed prior beliefs), no-I (decision maker has uninformed prior beliefs), US, USA, United States


US dollar



This work was supported through a grant from the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, US Department of Agriculture, under Agreement 00-52100-9617 and from US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, under Agreement 43-3AEL-8-80125. Views expressed are those of the authors, and not necessarily those of ERS or the US Department of Agriculture. Parts of this paper draw heavily from Huffman et al. (2007)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wallace E. Huffman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthew Rousu
  • Jason F. Shogren
  • Abebayehu Tegene
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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