Identifying Food Labeling Effects on Consumer Behavior
31 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2018 Last revised: 18 Nov 2019
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 scandata from a large retailer with on-the-shelf information on effective warning-label status. We find sizable effects on breakfast cereals, but no impact on chocolates or cookies. This effect is focused on medium-low socioeconomic groups and on households with children. Results are consistent with information disclosure being effective when the information is unexpected.
Keywords: Food Labeling, Obesity, Public Policy, Consumer Behavior, Food Information
JEL Classification: D12, I12, I18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation