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Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 899; doi:10.3390/su8090899

Influence of Source Credibility on Consumer Acceptance of Genetically Modified Foods in China

1
School of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
2
College of Economics & Management, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
3
Center of Agriculture’s Genetically Modified Organisms’ Safety Management and Policy Research Organization of Nanjing Agricultural University (AGGMO), Nanjing 210095, China
4
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hossein Azadi
Received: 12 July 2016 / Revised: 25 August 2016 / Accepted: 30 August 2016 / Published: 6 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land and Food Policy)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [244 KB, uploaded 6 September 2016]

Abstract

This paper examines the reasoning mechanism behind the consumer acceptance of genetically modified foods (GMFs) in China, and investigates influence of source credibility on consumer acceptance of GMFs. Based on the original Persuasion Model—which was developed by Carl Hovland, an American psychologist and pioneer in the study of communication and its effect on attitudes and beliefs—we conducted a survey using multistage sampling from 1167 urban residents, which were proportionally selected from six cities in three economic regions (south, central, and north) in the Jiangsu province through face to face interviews. Mixed-process regression that could correct endogeneity and ordered probit model were used to test the impact of source credibility on consumers’ acceptance of GMFs. Our major finding was that consumer acceptance of GMFs is affected by such factors as information source credibility, general attitudes, gender, and education levels. The reliability of biotechnology research institutes, government offices devoted to management of GM organisms (GMOs), and GMO technological experts have expedited urban consumer acceptance of GM soybean oil. However, public acceptance can also decrease as faith in the environmental organization. We also found that ignorance of the endogeneity of above mentioned source significantly undervalued its effect on consumers’ acceptance. Moreover, the remaining three sources (non-GMO experts, food companies, and anonymous information found on the Internet) had almost no effect on consumer acceptance. Surprisingly, the more educated people in our survey were more skeptical towards GMFs. Our results contribute to the behavioral literature on consumer attitudes toward GMFs by developing a reasoning mechanism determining consumer acceptance of GMFs. Particularly, this paper quantitatively studied the influence of different source credibility on consumer acceptance of GMFs by using mixed-process regression to correct endogeneity in information sources, while taking into consideration of information asymmetry and specific preference in the use of information sources. View Full-Text
Keywords: China; source credibility; genetically modified foods; consumer acceptance China; source credibility; genetically modified foods; consumer acceptance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, M.; Chen, C.; Hu, W.; Chen, L.; Zhan, J. Influence of Source Credibility on Consumer Acceptance of Genetically Modified Foods in China. Sustainability 2016, 8, 899.

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