Law & Economics student Henri Rautonen has been admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. His dissertation is titled “Mandatory Labeling: Changes in Consumer and Producer Behavior.” Rautonen’s committee chair is Professor Paige Marta Skiba. Professors Kelly Haws, Erin O’Hara O’Connor, and W. Kip Viscusi comprise the rest of Mr. Rautonen’s dissertation committee.
This dissertation will examine consumer response to information available on product risks, and the response to regulatory changes in the type of risk disclosure specifically. The underlying theses relate to phenomena studied by behavioral economics such as a salience effect, probability weighing and a reliance on heuristics. In Chapter 1, I will conduct an empirical examination of changes in the liquid milk market after bans on labels identifying products as “rBGH-‐free”.* Experiences from these laws will be used to discuss other (pending) labeling initiatives. In Chapter 2, I will attempt to experimentally isolate the salience effect in labeling. Finally, in Chapter 3, I will attempt to further outline producer response to regulation through product “leakage” into less regulated labels.
* recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, also referred to as RBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin).