Behavioral Ethics and the Incidence of Foodborne Illness Outbreaks
18 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020
Date Written: April 10, 2020
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: Suggested Citation