November 2020

IZA DP No. 13882: WHO and for How Long? An Empirical Analysis of the Consumers' Response to Red Meat Warning

Do health warnings change consumer behaviour? And for how long? We address these questions by studying the effects of the 2015 WHO's warning about the carcinogenic effect of red meat consumption. We use high-frequency data and implement a difference-in-difference-in-differences model which exploits the seasonality in red meat consumption and the heterogeneity in household's internet access due to historical infrastructure as a measure of intensity of exposure to the warning. We find generally short-lived effects and more pronounced in less processed meats contrary to the contents of the warning. Households with higher levels of education correctly reduced red meat consumption and over a longer period. Our findings suggest that the design of health warnings should account for such heterogeneity in the consumers' response.