Identifying Food Labeling Effects on Consumer Behavior
31 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2018 Last revised: 29 Apr 2020
Date Written: November 16, 2019
We examine a large-scale mandatory food labeling regulation to identify its effects on consumer behavior. We take advantage of exogenous variation in product-labeling status arising from the gradual and asynchronous introduction of labeled products on store shelves many weeks before the regulation deadline. We combine individual-level scan data from a large retailer with on-the-shelf information on the actual warning-label status. We find that warning labels decrease purchase probabilities on breakfast cereals, but have no impact on chocolates or cookies. The effect is larger on medium-low socioeconomic groups and households with children. Results are consistent with information disclosure influencing consumers' choices when the advertised information is unexpected.
Keywords: Food Labeling, Obesity, Public Policy, Consumer Behavior, Food Information
JEL Classification: D12, I12, I18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation