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Buying information or warm-glow? The relationship between ecolabels and seafood Public Deposited

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  • Since the last decade, a growing demand for ecolabels displaying environmental and sustainable information is observed, also in the seafood market. Hence, it seems that consumers are willing to pay price-premiums for ecolabels to know that the underlying fishery is sustainable. An interesting question is whether consumers are really interested in fisheries problems, or whether ecolabels may be products themselves that produce warm-glow. In this paper, a discrete choice experiment with two different treatments is used to investigate these issues in Germany. In one treatment the respondents are confronted with contradictory attribute level combinations (“overfished and labeled") to test the “buying information" and the “buying warm-glow" explanation. Using a mixed logit model, the random parameter specification indicates substantial variation in consumer preferences. With respect to the main question, it can be shown that introducing contradictory attribute level combinations leads to a decrease of the willingnes to pay for ecolabels of nearly 70%. This drastic reaction in relative terms does not support the idea that uninformed consumers treat ecolabels as a decoupled product that produces warm-glow. But on the other hand, shocking the relationship between ecolabels and seafood does not devalue ecolabels.
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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