• Seda Erdem

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis addresses various food safety issues and investigates them from an economic perspective within four different, but related, studies. The studies are intended to provide policy-makers and other decision-makers in the industry with valuable information that will help them to implement better mitigation strategies and policies. The studies also present some applications of advancements in choice modelling, and thus contribute to the literature. To address these issues, various surveys were conducted in the UK.The first study investigates different stakeholder groups' perceptions of responsibility among the stages of the meat chain for ensuring the meat they eat does not cause them to become ill, and how this differed with food types. The means by which this is achieved is novel, as we elicit stakeholders' relative degrees of responsibility using the Best-Worst Scaling (BWS) technique. BWS is particularly useful because it avoids the necessity of ranking a large set of items, which people have been found to struggle with. The results from this analysis reveal a consistent pattern among respondents of downplaying the extent of their own responsibility. The second study explores people's perceptions of various food and non-food risks within a framework characterised by the level of control that respondents believe they have over the risks, and the level of worry that the risks prompt. The means by which this is done differs from past risk perception analyses in that it questions people directly regarding their relative assessments of the levels of control and worry over the risks presented. The substantive analysis of the risk perceptions has three main foci concerning the relative assessment of (i) novel vs. more familiar risks, (ii) food vs. non-food risks, (iii) differences in the risk perceptions across farmers and consumers, with a particular orientation on E. coli.The third study investigates consumers' willingness to pay (WTP) for reductions in the level foodborne health risk achieved by (1) nanotechnology and (2) less controversial manners in the food system. The difference between consumers' valuations provides an implicit value for nanotechnology. This comparison is achieved via a split sample Discrete Choice Experiment study. Valuations of the risk reductions are derived from conditional, heteroskedastic conditional, mixed, and heteroscedastic mixed logit models. General results show the existence of heterogeneity in British consumers' preferences and variances, and that the value of nanotechnology differs for different types of consumers.The fourth study investigates consumers' perceptions of trust in institutions to provide information about nanotechnology and its use in food production and packaging. It is shown how the use of BWS and Latent Class modelling of survey data can provide in-depth information on consumer categories useful for the design of effective public policy, which in turn would allow the development of best practice in risk communication for novel technologies. Results show heterogeneity in British consumers' preferences. Three distinct consumer segments are identified: Class-1, who trust "government institutions and scientists" most; Class-2, who trust "non-profit organisations and environmental groups" most; and Class-3, who trust "food producers and handlers, and media" most.
Date of Award1 Aug 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDaniel Rigby (Supervisor) & Grada Wossink (Supervisor)


  • Health Risks
  • E. coli
  • Nanotechnology
  • UK
  • Latent Class Modelling
  • Discrete Choice
  • Maximum Difference technique
  • Perceptions

Cite this