A Vote-Buy Behavior Gap

Glynn Tonsor at Kansas State University has created a great resource for the readers of Feedstuff magazine.  Glynn writes a periodic column where he takes recent research from the academic literature and boils it down to a layman's perspective.  I was pleased to see he featured some work by Kate Brooks at the University of Nebraska and myself in his most recent column.  Here were the implications Glynn took from our research:

Implications: This study highlights the potential pitfalls of inferring public preferences from private choices. In this particular study private choices suggested stronger preferences than were reflected in public preferences for a ban restricting production practice options. Conversely, in other settings the opposite behavioral differences are observed. One of the clearest examples is the approximate 5% market share held by cage-free eggs (revealing that the majority of egg consumers are not willing to pay cage-free market premiums) and majority of residents expressing support in ballot settings for bans on laying hen cages. There are several reasons researchers may find the same individual to behave differently when making decisions as a food purchasing consumer than when making decisions as a voting resident. Identification of these reasons and the economic implications of these behavioral patterns are an area in need of additional research as there is a growing list of parallel examples that present complex dilemmas for livestock producers.