Richards, Timothy J.

May, 2018

By: Green, Gareth P.; Richards, Timothy J.
Understanding individual discounting behavior of future costs and benefits is critical for designing environmental policy. Although there is some empirical evidence of hyperbolic discounting, others have found that exponential discounting is more accurate when behavioral factors are properly considered. Further, there is little research on how environmental discount rates differ from monetary rates. We use experimental methods to determine how individuals discount monetary and environmental goods. Our findings suggest that individual discounting behavior is approximately exponential, environmental goods are discounted at lower rates than monetary goods, and discount rates vary widely across environmental goods when accounting for appropriate behavioral factors.

September, 2016

By: Yonezawa, Koichi; Richards, Timothy J.
When choosing among retail store formats, consumers face two alternatives: everyday-low-price (EDLP) stores that offer lower mean prices, with less variation over time, or promotion-based (HILO) stores that offer higher mean prices but more variation over time. In this study, we investigate a relationship between consumers’ risk preferences and their store-choice decisions. We use data from a two-stage, incentive-compatible experiment to measure subjects’ risk preferences and to examine how their attitudes toward risk influence their preferences for store price format.We find that retailers’ pricing strategies allow consumers with different risk attitudes to choose a particular store price format.

August, 2012

By: Richards, Timothy J.; Hamilton, Stephen F.
Models of rational addiction suggest that obesity is consistent with time-consistent preferences. Behavioral economists maintain that addictions such as alcoholism, smoking and over-eating represent examples of present-bias in decision making that is fundamentally irrational. In this article, conduct an experiment to test whether individual discount schedules are time-consistent and whether discount rates are higher for subjects who exhibit patterns of risky behavior. Our results show that discount functions are quasi-hyperbolic in shape, and that obesity and drinking are positively related to the discount rate. Anti-obesity policy, therefore, would be best directed to informing individuals as to the long-term implications of short-term gratification, rather than taxing foods directly

December, 2010

By: Richards, Timothy J.; Ellsworth, Peter; Tronstad, Russell; Naranjo, Steve
Invasive insect species represent perhaps one of the most significant potential sources of economic risk to U.S. agricultural production. Private control of invasive insect species is likely to be insufficient due to negative externality and weaker-link public good problems. In this study, we compare a system of Pigouvian taxes with tradable permits for invasive species control. While the emissions control literature shows that taxes are preferred to permits under cost uncertainty, invasive-species control involves correlated cost and benefit uncertainty. Hence, we expect a quantity-based system to be preferred. Monte Carlo simulations of optimal steady-state outcomes confirm our expectations.

December, 2010

By: Allender, William J.; Richards, Timothy J.
This study examines the consumer welfare impact of animal welfare legislation mandating cage-free egg production in California. We estimate California egg consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for cage-free eggs using household-level purchase data and compare the implied premium to higher production costs when calculating the potential change in consumer surplus. Our findings suggest that larger households and/or households with limited means are most likely to be affected. Furthermore, the implied welfare loss for consumers is approximately $106 million. Although consumers value cage-free eggs, higher production costs result in a net welfare loss to consumers. One implication of this finding is that a clear labeling practice may be a more efficient way to motivate animal welfare and non-cage systems.

August, 2010

By: Richards, Timothy J.; Hamilton, Stephen F.; Patterson, Paul M.
Private labels, also known as store brands, are an important component of competitive strategy among multi-product retailers, as they can increase retailers’ power over suppliers in the vertical channel or facilitate horizontal differentiation among retailers. This paper seeks to identify the relative importance of each role, conditional on the location of both private labels and national brands of ice cream in attribute space. We find that retailers’ share of the total margin (retail price less production cost) is higher for private labels than national brands when retailers choose to imitate national brands with their own offerings.

December, 2009

By: Richards, Timothy J.; Nganje, William E.; Acharya, Ram N.
Despite the economic damage inflicted by a foodborne disease outbreak, firms at all points in the supply chain appear to be reluctant to invest in the necessary food safety technologies and practices. We argue that these investments are subject to both hysteretic and public good effects, and construct a theoretical model of food safety investment, calibrated to describe the 2006 E. coli outbreak in California spinach. Both effects are found to induce delays in food safety investments, but the public good effect dominates. We suggest a number of policy options that improve incentives to contribute to the public good.

December, 2007

By: Richards, Timothy J.; Patterson, Paul M.; Hamilton, Stephen F.
Many attribute the rise in obesity since the early 1980's to the overconsumption of fast food. A dynamic model of a different-product industry equilibrium shows that a firm with market power will price below marginal cost in a steady-state equilibrium. A spatial hedonic pricing model is used to test whether fast food firms set prices in order to exploit their inherent addictiveness. The results show that firms price products dense in addictive nutrients below marginal cost, but price products high in nonaddictive nutrients higher than would be the case in perfect competition.

August, 2005

By: Richards, Timothy J.; Patterson, Paul M.
Many public programs promote diets rich in fruits and vegetables based on evidence of the derived health benefits. Still, produce consumption in the United States lags behind other nations, even its most culturally similar neighbor--Canada. This study uses a structural latent variable model to test the role played by quality and health information in explaining observed differences in produce consumption. The Alchian-Allen effect predicts that higher quality, higher absolute margin produce will be exported, suggesting quality may be an important demand factor in importing nations such as Canada. The results show that dietary health information is significant in expanding demands. Quality also promotes fruit consumption in Canada.

August, 2003

By: Richards, Timothy J.; Manfredo, Mark R.
Revenue insurance represents an important new risk management tool for agricultural producers. While there are many farm-level products, Group Risk Income Protection (GRIP) is an area-based alternative. Insurers set premium rates for GRIP on the assumption of a continuous revenue distribution, but discrete events may cause the actual value of insurance to differ by a significant amount. This study develops a contingent claims approach to determining the error inherent in ignoring these infrequent events in rating GRIP insurance. An empirical example from the California grape industry demonstrates the significance of this error and suggests an alternative method of determining revenue insurance premiums.