Do consumers choose to stay ignorant? The role of information in the purchase of ethically certified products
The paper analyzes how consumers access information about ethical certificates and how access to this information influences consumers’ purchasing decisions. Using an experimental market game and letting consumers choose between a certified and an uncertified product, this study finds that consumers do not ignore information about the effectiveness of ethical certificates in a systematic manner. Also, as long as the access to information is costless, varying the way it is provided to consumers does not influence the purchasing decision between a certified and an uncertified product. However, consumers are extremely price sensitive: once a small cost for information is introduced, most consumers are not willing to access it, and the share of consumers buying the certified product decreases significantly.
JEL: C91; D12; D64; D89
Working Papers in Economics