Research Highlights

Food Policy

Although food and agricultural policies are often motivated by noble intentions, economic analysis provides a framework for attempting to sort out the actual consequences.  I’ve analyzed the consequences of various policies ranging from food labels, to bans on controversial agricultural technologies, to fat taxes on the well-being of farmers, processors, and consumers.  

Mullally, C. and J.L. Lusk. “The Impact of Restrictions on Farm Animal Housing on Egg Prices, Consumer Welfare, and Production in California.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 100(2018):649-669.

Muller, L., A. Lacroix, J.L. Lusk, and B. Ruffieux.  "Distributional Impacts of Fat Taxes and Thin Subsidies."  Economic Journal. 127(2017):2066-2092

Ellison, B., D. Davis, and J.L. Lusk.  "The Value and Cost of Restaurant Calorie Labels: Results from a Field Experiment."  Economic Inquiry. 52(2014):666-681.

Schroeter, C., J.L. Lusk, and W. Tyner.  “Determining the Impact of Food Price and Income Changes on Body Weight.”  Journal of Health Economics.  27(2008):45-68.

Lusk, J.L., B. Norwood, and R. Pruitt.  “Consumer Demand for a Ban on Subtherapeutic Antibiotic Use in Pork Production.”  American Journal of Agricultural Economics.  88(2006):1015-1033. 

Lusk, J.L., L.O. House, C. Valli, S.R. Jaeger, M. Moore, B. Morrow, W.B. Traill. “Consumer Welfare Effects of Introducing and Labeling Genetically Modified Food.”  Economics Letters.  88(2005):382-88. 

Emerging Food Issues

Food preferences and technologies are constantly evolving, and as such, much of my research has focused on providing economic analysis and insight into consumer preferences for emerging food issues such as animal welfare, biotechnology, cloning, nanotechnology, growth promotants, local foods, vegetarianism, and foods with various health claims.

Lusk, J.L. “Consumer Preferences for and Beliefs about Slow Growth Chicken.” Poultry Science. 97(2018):4159-4166.

Kolodinsky, J. and J.L. Lusk. “Mandatory Labels Can Improve Attitudes toward Genetically Engineered Food.” Science Advances. 4(2018):eaaq1413

Lusk, J.L. and F.B. Norwood.  “Animal Welfare Economics.” Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy. 33(2011):463-483.

Lusk, J.L. and F.B. Norwood.  “Some Economic Benefits and Costs of Vegetarianism.” Agricultural and Resource Economics Review.  38(2009):109-124. Errata

Lusk, J.L., W.B. Traill ,L.O. House, C. Valli, S.R. Jaeger, M. Moore, B. Morrow,. “Comparative Advantage in Demand: Experimental Evidence of Preferences for Genetically Modified Food in the United States and European Union.”  Journal of Agricultural Economics.  57(2006):1-21. 

Lusk, J.L. and A. Rozan. “Consumer Acceptance of Ingenic Foods.”  Biotechnology Journal.  1(2006):1433-34.

Consumer Behavior

Predicting consumers’ responses to food marketing and policy initiatives requires an understanding of why people do what they do, which means studying preferences for risk, time-delays, “fairness,” social status, and the like.  A key question driving much of my research is: why do consumers say they will do one thing in a survey but do something entirely different when shopping in the grocery store?  

Caputo, V, J.L. Lusk, and R. Nayga. “Choice Experiments are Not Conducted in a Vacuum: The Effects of External Price Information on Choice Behavior.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. 145(2018):335-351.

Lusk, J.L. and F.B. Norwood.  “Bridging the Gap between Laboratory Experiments and Naturally Occurring Markets: An Inferred Valuation Method.”  Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 58(2009):236–250. 

Chang, J.B., J.L. Lusk, and F.B. Norwood.  “How Closely Do Hypothetical Surveys and Laboratory Experiments Predict Field Behavior?”  American Journal of Agricultural Economics.  91(2009):518-534. 

Coble, K.H. and J.L. Lusk.  “At the Nexus of Risk and Time Preferences: An Experimental Investigation.”  Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.  41(2010):67–79.

Lusk, J.L. and B.C. Briggeman. “Selfishness, Altruism, and Inequality Aversion towards Consumers and Farmers.”  Agricultural Economics.  42(2011):121-139.

Livestock and Meat Technology and Marketing

Growing up and attending Universities in the prime meat-producing regions of the U.S. has led to a lifelong interest in livestock and meat marketing and the impacts of technologies on the livestock and meat sectors.

Maples, J.G., J.L. Lusk, and D.S. Peel. “Unintended Consequences of the Quest for Increased Efficiency in Beef Cattle: When Bigger Isn’t Better.” Food Policy. 74(2018):65-73.

Thompson, N.M., B.W. Brorsen, E.A. Devuyst, and J.L. Lusk. “Genetic Testing to Signal Quality in Beef Cattle: Bayesian Methods for Optimal Sample Size.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 99(2017):1287-1306.

Weaber, R.L. and J.L. Lusk.  “The Economic Value of Improvements in Meat Tenderness by Genetic Marker Selection.”  American Journal of Agricultural Economics.  92(2010):1456-1471.

Lusk, J.L. “Association of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in the Leptin Gene with Body Weight and Backfat Growth Curve Parameters for Beef Cattle.” Journal of Animal Science.  85(2007):1865-1872. 

Lusk, J.L. R. Little, A. Williams, J. Anderson, and B. McKinley. “Utilizing Live Animal Ultrasound to Improve Livestock Marketing Decisions.”  Review of Agricultural Economics.  25(2003):203-217.

Lusk, J.L., J.A. Fox, T.C. Schroeder, J. Mintert, and M. Koohmaraie.  “In-Store Valuation of Steak Tenderness.”  American Journal of Agricultural Economics.  83(2001):539-550.

Research Methods

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to improve experimental, survey, and statistical methods to better understand how consumers will actually react to food marketing and policy initiatives.  This work has led to some new consumer research methods such as inferred valuation, incentive compatible conjoint, and calibrated auction-conjoint methods, and has led to further refinements in existing methods including best-worst scaling, choice experiments, and experimental auctions.

Malone, T. and J.L. Lusk. “A Simple Diagnostic Measure for Discrete Choice Models: A Note.” European Review of Agricultural Economics. 45(2018):455-462.

Norwood, F.B., and J.L. Lusk.  “A Calibrated Auction-Conjoint Valuation Method: Valuing Pork and Eggs Produced under Differing Animal Welfare Conditions.”  Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. 62(2011):80-94.

Lusk, J.L. and F.B. Norwood.  “An Inferred Valuation Method.”  Land Economics.  85(2009):500-514. 

Lusk, J.L. and B.C. Briggeman.  “Food Values.”  American Journal of Agricultural Economics.  91(2009):184-196. 

Lusk, J.L., D. Fields, and J. Prevatt. “An Incentive Compatible Conjoint Ranking Mechanism.”  American Journal of Agricultural Economics.  90(2008):487-498. 

Lusk, J.L. and T.C. Schroeder.  “Are Choice Experiments Incentive Compatible? A Test with Quality Differentiated Beef Steaks.”  American Journal of Agricultural Economics   86(2004):467-482.