Informational Regulation of Consumer Health Risks: An Empirical Evaluation of Hazard Warnings
Viscusi, W. Kip
Magat, Wesley A.
On the basis of data from a survey of almost 400 consumers, this article assesses whether consumer behavior is responsive to information about product hazards that is provided in response to regulation. We find that the extent to which consumers take precautions is consistent with the level of risk indicated, the amount of risk information, the specific risk and precaution indicated, and the economic benefits of safety precautions. We also use the patterns of precautionary behavior to analyze the implicit value of the morbidity effects and to assess the consistency of consumer choices. Our findings support the use of product-hazard information as an alternative to more direct regulation of safety risks.