We study how people form and revise health risk beliefs based on food safety information. In an online experiment, subjects stated their perceived risk of contracting a foodborne illness before and after receiving information about the population average risk and the eating habits of the average consumer. Precautionary effort in handling and preparing food reduced prior risk beliefs, but did not affect the belief revision process. About one quarter of subjects either fully ignored the information provided or revised their beliefs inconsistently with the Bayesian learning hypothesis. We find several factors related to the subjects’ numerical skills that explain information refusal and inconsistent belief revisions and discuss them in the context of health risks.
James K. Hammitt, and Christoph Rheinberger, “Dinner with Bayes: On the Revision of Risk Beliefs”, TSE Working Paper, n. 15-574, May 2015.
James K. Hammitt, and Christoph Rheinberger, “Dinner with Bayes: On the Revision of Risk Beliefs”, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, vol. 57, n. 3, December 2018, pp. 253–280.
Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, vol. 57, n. 3, December 2018, pp. 253–280