Biotechnology and Consumer Decision-Making

54 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2017 Last revised: 6 Mar 2017

See all articles by Joanna Sax

Joanna Sax

California Western School of Law

Date Written: January 22, 2017

Abstract

Society is facing major challenges in climate change, health care and overall quality of life. Scientific advances to address these areas continue to grow, with overwhelming evidence that the application of highly tested forms of biotechnology is safe and effective. Despite scientific consensus in these areas, consumers appear reluctant to support their use. Research that helps to understand consumer decision-making and the public’s resistance to biotechnologies such as vaccines, fluoridated water programs and genetically engineered food, will provide great social value. This article is forward-thinking in that it suggests that important research in behavioral decision-making, specifically affect and ambiguity, can be used to help consumers make informed choices about major applications of biotechnology. This article highlights some of the most controversial examples: vaccinations, genetically engineered food, rbST treated dairy cows, fluoridated water, and embryonic stem cell research. In many of these areas, consumers perceive the risks as high, but the experts calculate the risks as low. Four major thematic approaches are proposed to create a roadmap for policymakers to consider for policy design and implementation in controversial areas of biotechnology. This article articulates future directions for studies that implement decision-making research to allow consumers to appropriately assign risk to their options and make informed decisions.

Suggested Citation

Sax, Joanna, Biotechnology and Consumer Decision-Making (January 22, 2017). Seton Hall Law Review, Vol. 47, 2017, California Western School of Law Research Paper No. 17-4, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2910049

Joanna Sax (Contact Author)

California Western School of Law ( email )

225 Cedar Street
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
619-515-1555 (Phone)

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