Behavioral Ethics and the Incidence of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

18 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020

See all articles by Harvey S. James, Jr.

Harvey S. James, Jr.

University of Missouri at Columbia - Division of Applied Social Sciences

Michelle Segovia

University of Missouri at Columbia - Division of Applied Social Sciences

Date Written: April 10, 2020

Abstract

Cognitive biases play an important role in creating and perpetuating problems that lead to foodborne illness outbreaks. By using insights from behavioral economics and behavioral ethics, we show that sometimes people engage in unethical behavior that increases the likelihood of foodborne illness outbreaks without necessarily intending to or being consciously aware of it. We apply these insights to analyze the case of the 2011 listeriosis outbreak from the consumption of contaminated cantaloupes. We then provide policy implications that can improve our understanding of other kinds of disease outbreaks and epidemics, such as the case of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Keywords: Food safety; foodborne illness outbreaks; cognitive biases; behavioral economics; behavioral ethics

JEL Classification: D91, L66, Q18

Suggested Citation

James, Harvey S. and Segovia, Michelle S., Behavioral Ethics and the Incidence of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks (April 10, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3625228 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3625228

Harvey S. James (Contact Author)

University of Missouri at Columbia - Division of Applied Social Sciences ( email )

Columbia, MO
United States
573-884-9682 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://hsjames2.wordpress.com

Michelle S. Segovia

University of Missouri at Columbia - Division of Applied Social Sciences ( email )

United States

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