The Welfare Value of FDA’s Mercury-in-Fish Advisory: A Dynamic Reanalysis

Rheinberger, Christoph and Hammitt, James K. (2014) The Welfare Value of FDA’s Mercury-in-Fish Advisory: A Dynamic Reanalysis. Journal of Health Economics, vol. 37. pp. 113-122.

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Official URL: http://tse-fr.eu/pub/28537

Abstract

Assessing the welfare impact of consumer health advisories is a thorny task. Recently, Shimshack and Ward (2010) studied how U.S. households responded to FDA’s 2001 mercury-in-fish advisory. They found that the average at-risk household reduced fish consumption by 21%, resulting in a 17%-reduction in mercury exposure at the cost of a 21%-reduction in cardioprotective omega-3 fatty acids. Based on a static assessment of the health costs and benefits Shimshack and Ward concluded that the advisory policy resulted in an overall consumer welfare loss. In this note, we propose a dynamic assessment that links the long-term cardiovascular health effects of the advisory to life-cycle consumption. We find that under reasonable assumptions the welfare loss might be much larger than suggested. Our analysis highlights the importance of accounting for dynamic effects when evaluating persistent changes in exposure to environmental health risks.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: 2014
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Food safety, mercury, fatty acids, policy analysis, excess lifetime risk
JEL codes: D18 - Consumer Protection
D61 - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
J17 - Value of Life; Forgone Income
Subjects: B- ECONOMIE ET FINANCE
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2015 14:50
Last Modified: 17 May 2019 14:53
OAI ID: oai:tse-fr.eu:28537
URI: http://publications.ut-capitole.fr/id/eprint/16588

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