Portrait of Professor Iain Fraser

Professor Iain Fraser

Professor of Agri-Environmental Economics
Deputy Head of School

About

Iain Fraser is a Professor of Agri-Environmental Economics. He received his PhD from the University of Manchester in 1992. He has held academic positions in the UK at the University of ManchesterManchester Metropolitan University and Imperial College. He also lectured in Australia for seven years at La Trobe University.

His research interests cover various aspects of agricultural, environmental and resource economics. 

Iain is a member of the Centre for European Agri-Environmental Studies and the Microeconomics Research Group.

Research interests

Iain's current research interests cover various aspects of agricultural, environmental and resource economics. Examples, include agri-environmental economics (the use of contracts, implications of climate change, farmer coordination), non-market valuation (Contingent Valuation and Choice Experiments), the role of information in food consumption and applied econometrics. He has also conducted research on natural resource accounting, household waste management and the use of contracts in the Australian wine sector.

Iain's RePEc page is http://econpapers.repec.org/RAS/pfr98.htm

Working papers

Iain recently completed a project on Country of Origin food labels for Defra. A copy of the report can be found here.

Teaching

Supervision

Past students

  • Tsz Wing Law, registered 2014
  • Andreas Markoulakis, registered 2014
  • Dr Monica Paganini: 'Firm Level Efficiency', registered 2011
  • Dr Steve King, registered 2011, submitted October 2014
  • Dr Christina Siettou: 'Pet Markets and Animal Welfare', completed 2015
  • Dr Uzma Iram: 'Health Inequalities in Pakistan', completed 2013
  • Dr Nicole Snell: 'Topics on Food and Health', completed 2011
  • Dr Emmanuelle Quillerou: 'Adverse Selection and Agri-Environmental Policy Design: The Higher Level Stewardship Scheme as a Case Study', completed 2010
  • Dr Michael Bitzos: 'Topics on Food and Health'

Professional

Since September 2012, Iain has been an editor of the European Review of Agricultural Economics.

Administrative roles

  • Deputy Head of the School of Economics
  • Director of Employability and Student Experience
  • Director of Higher Degree Apprenticeships
  • Member of School Strategic Management Group

Publications

Showing 50 of 90 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.

Article

  • Brock, M., Fraser, I., Law, T., Mitchell, S. and Roberts, D. (2020). An Economic Analysis of Twitching Behaviour and Species Rarity. Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/21606544.2020.1782269.
    Avid birdwatchers, or ‘twitchers’, expend a considerable amount of money and time pursuing viewing experiences of rare or vagrant species. By vagrant species we mean a species found outside its normal range/distribution. To enhance our understanding of this form of behaviour, we present results from a UK survey of twitchers. First, we examine the relationship between cost and rarity based on actual viewing experiences. Our statistical results reveal that the relationship between cost and rarity is positive and very inelastic. Second, we present results from a hypothetical Best-Worst Scaling exercise examining aspects of species rarity. We find that rarity is a more nuanced construct than simply the frequency with which a vagrant species has appeared. Our results provide insights into the meaning of rarity, as well as the economic value attach to it and why.
  • Balcombe, K., Fraser, I. and Sharma, A. (2019). Is Radiative Forcing Cointegrated with Temperature? A Further Examination Using a Structural Time Series Approach. Management of Environmental Quality [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/MEQ-12-2018-0214.
    This paper re-examines the long-run relationship between radiative forcing (including emissions of carbon dioxide, sulphur oxides, methane, and solar radiation) and temperatures from a structural time series modeling perspective. We assess whether forcing measures are cointegrated with global temperatures using the structural time series approach.
  • Balcombe, K., Bardsley, N., Dadzie, S. and Fraser, I. (2019). Estimating Parametric Loss Aversion with Prospect Theory: Recognising and Dealing with Size Dependence. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization [Online] 162:106-119. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2019.04.017.
    Parameteric identification of loss aversion requires either the imposition of rotational symmetry on the utility function or a point dependent normalization condition. In this paper, we propose a new approach in which point dependence is reduced by integration over normalization points. To illustrate our approach, we consider a sample of Ghanaian farmers’ risk preferences over the gain, loss and mixed domains. Using Bayesian econometric methods, we find support for Prospect Theory albeit with substantial behavioral variation across individuals plus mild overweighting of losses compared to gains. We also show that the majority of respondents are mildly loss averse especially as the size of the payoffs increase.
  • Ukpong, I., Balcombe, K., Fraser, I. and Areal, F. (2019). Preferences for Mitigation of the Negative impacts of the Oil and Gas Industry in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria. Environmental and Resource Economics [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10640-019-00349-4.
    We examine Nigerian preferences for the mitigation of negative impacts associated with oil and gas production using a discrete choice experiment. Our data are estimated using a Bayesian "infinite mixtures" model, which given its flexibility can approximate an array of existing model specifications including the mixed logit and finite mixture specifications. The application of this model to our data suggest multimodality in the distributions describing respondents' willingness to pay to mitigate the negative impacts of oil and gas production. Individuals are willing to pay for mitigation of negative impacts, but are not necessarily willing to trade-off very large increases in unemployment or poverty to achieve these benefits.
  • Law, C., Fraser, I. and Piracha, M. (2019). Nutrition transition and changing food preferences in India. Journal of Agricultural Economics [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/1477-9552.12322.
    We present empirical evidence on how changes in food preferences have contributed to nutrition transition,
    where the dietary pattern of households shifts away from traditional staples. Using household level time
    series cross-section survey data for India, we estimate time varying demand elasticities, revealing evidence of
    the declining importance of cereals in Indian household diets. The estimates show that Indian demand for
    cereals has become more income inelastic and price elastic. We also find that cereals are a substitute rather
    than a complement to animal products in household diets. Since changes in elasticities can only be attributed
    to variation in utility parameters, this indicates that cereals are losing favour with Indian households. These
    findings have implications for Indian food policy design and implementation.
  • Sharma, A., Di Falco, S. and Fraser, I. (2018). Consumption of salt rich products: impact of the UK reduced salt campaign. International Journal of Health Economics and Management [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10754-018-9257-9.
    This paper uses a leading UK supermarket’s loyalty card database to assess the effectiveness and impact of the 2004 UK reduced salt campaign. We present an econometric analysis of purchase data to assess the effectiveness of the Food Standard Agency’s (FSA) ‘reduced salt campaign’. We adopt a general approach to determining structural breaks in the time series of purchase data, using unit root tests whereby structural breaks are endogenously determined from the data. We find only limited evidence supporting the effectiveness of the FSA’s reduced salt campaign. Our results support existing findings in the literature that have used alternative methodologies to examine the impact of information campaigns on consumer choice of products with high salt content.
  • Mohanty, S., Balcombe, K., Bennett, R., Nocella, G. and Fraser, I. (2018). Attribute Specific Impacts of Stated Non-Attendance in Choice Experiments. Journal of Agricultural Economics [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/1477-9552.12311.
    In this paper, we generalize existing approaches to the treatment of stated attribute non-attendance
    data in discrete choice experiments by allowing attribute specifc impacts. We implement this ap-
    proach by employing an extended hierarchical Bayes logit model specifcation. To illustrate this
    approach, we consider data collected to examine Indian consumers preferences for traditional aro-
    matic rice varieties. Our results regarding stated attribute non-attendance reveal that, our new
    approach shrinks marginal utilities of non-attenders substantially compared to stated attenders, with
    signifcant di¤erences in the shrinkage between some of the attributes. In addition, our results reveal
    the way in which non-attendance of attributes interact with each other and the impact that this has
    on the distribution of willingness to pay estimates.
  • Robinson, J., Fraser, I., St John, F., Randrianantoandro, J., Andriantsimanarilafy, R., Razafimanahaka, J., Griffiths, R. and Roberts, D. (2018). Wildlife supply chains in Madagascar from local collection to global export. Biological Conservation [Online] 226:144-152. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2018.07.027.
    International trade in wildlife is a complex multi-billion dollar industry. To supply it, many animals are extracted from the wild, sourced from biodiversity-rich, developing countries. Whilst the trade has far-reaching implications for wildlife protection, there is limited information regarding the socio-economic implications in supply countries. Consequently, a better understanding of the costs and benefits of wildlife supply chains, for both livelihoods and conservation, is required to enhance wildlife trade management and inform its regulation. Using Madagascar as a case study, we used value chain analysis to explore the operation of legal wildlife trade on a national scale; we estimate the number of actors involved, the scale, value and profit distribution along the chain, and explore management options. We find that the supply of wildlife provided economic benefits to a number of actors, from local collectors, to intermediaries, exporters and national authorities. CITES-listed reptiles and amphibians comprised a substantial proportion of the quantity and value of live animal exports with a total minimum export value of 230,795USD per year. Sales prices of reptiles and amphibians increased over 100-fold between local collectors and exporters, with exporters capturing ~92% of final export price (or 57% when their costs are deducted). However, exporters shouldered the largest costs and financial risks. Local collectors obtained ~1.4% of the final sales price, and opportunities for poverty alleviation and incentives for sustainable management from the trade appear to be limited. Promoting collective management of species harvests at the local level may enhance conservation and livelihood benefits. However, this approach requires consideration of property rights and land-tenure systems. The complex and informal nature of some wildlife supply chains make the design and implementation of policy instruments aimed at enhancing conservation and livelihoods challenging. Nevertheless, value chain analysis provides a mechanism by which management actions can be more precisely targeted.
  • Fraser, I. and Balcombe, K. (2018). Wrapped in the Flag: Food Choice and Country of Origin Labelling. EuroChoices [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/1746-692X.12189.
    The growth in country of origin (COO) food labelling is part of the ongoing proliferation of information provided to consumers. However, the implementation of COO labelling means that consumers can sometimes end up more confused than informed. This concern raises questions regarding how COO information should be provided, along with what information needs to be given to consumers. We begin by discussing what COO actually indicates. This is followed by a review of the evidence on consumer use of COO information. Then turning to current policy issues, we draw attention to how COO information can be used to promote consumer ethnocentrism as well as inadvertently causing trade tensions both between trading countries and within the EU single market. We then consider how developments in information technology like blockchains or smart labels might change how COO information is collated and used. In particular, we observe that any increase in the use of this technology will depend on whether or not consumers trust these new digital sources of information. Potentially, the convenience with which COO information could be verified by consumers using information technology is a logical development given consumer demands for convenience in general.
  • Robinson, J., Griffiths, R., Fraser, I., Raharimalala, J., Roberts, D. and St. John, F. (2018). Supplying the wildlife trade as a livelihood strategy in a biodiversity hotspot. Ecology and Society [Online] 23:13. Available at: https//dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-09821-230113.
    Much of the global wildlife trade is sourced from biodiversity-rich developing countries. These often have high levels of poverty and habitat loss, particularly in rural areas where many depend on natural resources. However, wildlife collection may incentivize local people to conserve habitats that support their livelihoods. Here we examined the contribution of the commercial collection of live animals to rural livelihoods in Madagascar, one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots. Using questionnaires, we investigated the prevalence, profitability relative to other livelihood activities, and local importance of the trade, and its capacity to provide incentives for conservation. Thirteen percent of households were engaged in live animal collection in the study area (~5% trapped reptiles and amphibians and the remainder trapped invertebrates). This formed part of a diverse livelihood strategy, and was more profitable than other activities (in terms of returns per unit of effort), with median earnings of ~US$100 per season (~25% of Gross National Income per year). However, trapping was part-time, usually undertaken by poorer members of the community, and often perceived as opportunistic, risky, and financially unreliable. Further, trappers and nontrappers held similar perceptions regarding conservation, suggesting wildlife trade currently does not incentivize enhanced stewardship of traded species and their habitats. Our study brings together a range of methodologies to present the most comprehensive insights into livelihoods and conservation in poor rural communities involved in the commercial collection of live animals to supply international trade. This improved understanding of the wider socioeconomic dimensions of wildlife trade can inform policy and management interventions for both the threats and opportunities associated with global trade in biodiversity both in Madagascar and more generally.
  • Balcombe, K., Fraser, I., Williams, L. and McSorley, E. (2017). Examining the Relationship Between Visual Attention and Stated Preferences: A Discrete Choice Experiment Using Eye-Tracking. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization [Online] 144:238-257. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268117302718.
    We examine the relationship between visual attention and stated preferences derived from a discrete choice experiment. Focussing on consumer preferences regarding country of origin food labels, we employ a Bayesian in.nite mixture Logit to derive results that reveal patterns of respondent heterogeneity that would not be captured assuming that random parameters take a speci.c distributional form. Our results reveal weak relationships between the eye-tracking data, our stated preference results and various attribute use questions. Although respondents with higher levels of visual attendance value speci.c attributes more highly, the strength of the relationship is fairly weak. Therefore, whilst we maintain that eye-tracking is useful, we argue that there needs to be greater clarity about the aims and purpose of using eye-tracking in stated preference research.
  • Fraser, I. and Hussein, M. (2017). Hedonic Analysis of Consumers’ Valuation of Country of Origin of Meat in the United Kingdom. Journal of Agricultural Economics [Online]. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1477-9552.12232.
    We estimate the implicit prices consumers are willing to pay for country of origin labels, using hedonic price methods and panel data for meat and meat products in the United Kingdom (UK). Our results show that consumers place significant value on origin information across fresh and processed meat products, especially since the horsemeat incident in 2013. The findings also suggest that retailers have increased the use of voluntary labelling of processed meat products since the incident. Hence, further extension of existing mandatory labelling requirements to processed meat products may not be required at least in the short term.
  • Balcombe, K. and Fraser, I. (2017). Do Bubbles have an Explosive Signature in Markov Switching Models?. Economic Modelling [Online] 66:81-100. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.econmod.2017.06.001.
    We investigate nine data series previously identified as containing bubbles using Bayesian Markov switching models. Nearly all series appear to display strong regime switching that could possibly be induced by `bubble' processes, but in each case the type of model that best describes each price differs substantively. We pay particular attention to whether these series contain transient explosive roots, a feature which has been suggested to exist in several bubble formulations. Bayesian model averaging is employed which allows us to average across a range of submodels, so that our empirical findings are not based on only one well performing model. We show that explosive regimes may exist in many submodels, but only when the flexibility of the model is limited in other important respects. In particular, when Markov switching models allow for switching levels of error variance, explosive root regimes occur in only a minority of the series.
  • Fraser, I. (2016). Consumer Preferences Regarding Country of Origin for Multiple Meat Products. Food Policy [Online] 64:49-62. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2016.09.008.
    Despite the growing use of country of origin (CoO) information and labels on food, the extent to which consumers really value this information is unclear. In an effort to understand this issue we present results of a hypothetical discrete choice experiment examining consumer willingness-to-pay for CoO information about meat and meat products. Our results reveal that CoO information is positively valued for all the food products we consider. However, it is relatively less important compared to other food attributes for a large number of products such as bacon, pizza and ready meals. Our results suggest that consumers do not value very highly CoO information for many of the food products examined. Therefore, if the associated costs of mandatory CoO implementation are sufficiently high this raises questions about the inclusion of this information on food labels.
  • Fraser, I. and O’Hanley, J. (2016). Benefits Transfer and the Aquatic Environment: An Investigation into the Context of Fish Passage Improvement. Journal of Environmental Management [Online] 183:1079-1087. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.09.041.
    We present findings from a choice experiment investigating improvements in the aquatic environment from mitigation of barriers to fish passage. Implemented at a local and national level, results reveal positive preferences for increased numbers of fish species as well as fish abundance. In addition, we examine if in this case the willingness to pay estimates are suitable for direct transfer between national and local settings. For both samples, we consider the extent to which stated attribute non-attendance impacts estimates of willingness to pay and the potential ability of researchers to transfer values between contexts. Implications of the use of benefit transfer within this policy context are discussed in light of our findings.
  • Bugden, J., Waschik, R., Fraser, I. and Racine, J. (2016). Parametric and non-parametric analysis of tax changes. Global Business and Economics Review [Online] 18:533-549. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/GBER.2016.10000036.
    In this paper, we examine the net effect of several major tax changes in Australia on residential property prices. Specifically, we consider the announcement and introduction effects that resulted from several policy changes including the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the accompanying First Home Owner Grant (FHOG). Using a large dataset of residential property sales in Melbourne, Australia, between 1992 and 2002 we estimate various models using parametric and non-parametric methods. While our parametric models suggest that the tax policy changes appear to have a statistically significant impact on house prices, no economically significant impact is detected by our non-parametric models, nor (upon closer inspection) by the parametric models themselves. Given the enormity of the sample size, this provides a telling example of the fundamental difference between statistical and economic significance and its implications for detecting government policy effectiveness
  • Hausmann, A., Slotow, R., Fraser, I. and Di Minin, E. (2016). Ecotourism marketing alternative to charismatic megafauna can also support biodiversity conservation. Animal Conservation [Online] 20:91-100. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acv.12292.
    Charismatic species are the main attractor of ecotourists to protected areas, but this narrow interest leads to under-appreciation of other biodiversity as well as cultural values of protected areas. Many protected areas with high conservation value, but little funding, lack charismatic species. Exploring tourists’ preferences alternative to charismatic species may help identify ecotourism markets that are more likely to support such areas. We used a choice experiment and latent class model to explore tourists’ heterogeneous preference for biodiversity and biodiversity-related activities in South African national parks. We found that tourists’ preferences were not restricted to charismatic species, but extended to less charismatic biodiversity, as well as to landscapes. In addition, biodiversity-related activities, such as camping and game drives, the sense of wilderness attached to the place tourists were visiting and accessibility of protected areas, also affected tourists’ preferences. Particularly, domestic tourists, as well as more experienced international tourists, were more likely to support initiatives that promote a broader biodiversity experience than charismatic species alone, and were prepared to travel longer distances to do so. Our results reveal new opportunities to promote and support biodiversity conservation at sites where only less charismatic biodiversity is present. In addition, our results may help inform land-use planning based on public preferences for biodiversity conservation, incorporating sense of place.
  • Balcombe, K., Fraser, I., Lowe, B. and Souza Monteiro, D. (2015). Information Customization and Food Choice. American Journal of Agricultural Economics [Online] 98:54-73. Available at: http://ajae.oxfordjournals.org/content/98/1/54.
    In this article we employ a hypothetical discrete choice experiment (DCE) to examine how much consumers are willing to pay to use technology to customize their food shopping. We conjecture that customized information provision can aid in the composition of a healthier shop. Our results reveal that consumers are prepared to pay relatively more for individual specific information as opposed to generic nutritional information that is typically provided on food labels. In arriving at these results we have examined various model specifications including those that make use of ex-post de-briefing questions on attribute non-attendance and attribute ranking information and those that consider the time taken to complete the survey. Our main results are robust to the various model specifications we examine.
  • Balcombe, K. and Fraser, I. (2015). Parametric preference functionals under risk in the gain domain: A Bayesian analysis. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty [Online] 50:161-187. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11166-015-9213-8.
    The performance of rank dependent preference functionals under risk is comprehensively evaluated using Bayesian model averaging. Model comparisons are
    made at three levels of heterogeneity plus three ways of linking deterministic and stochastic models: differences in utilities, differences in certainty equivalents and
    contextual utility. Overall, the “best model”, which is conditional on the form of heterogeneity, is a form of Rank Dependent Utility or Prospect Theory that captures
    most behaviour at the representative agent and individual level. However, the curvature of the probability weighting function for many individuals is S-shaped, or
    ostensibly concave or convex rather than the inverse S-shape commonly employed. Also contextual utility is broadly supported across all levels of heterogeneity. Finally,
    the Priority Heuristic model is estimated within a stochastic framework, and allowing for endogenous thresholds does improve model performance although it does not
    compete well with the other specifications considered.
  • Lowe, B., Souza-Monteiro, D. and Fraser, I. (2015). Changing Food Consumption Behaviors. Psychology & Marketing [Online] 32:481-485. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mar.20793.
    Few products are as pervasive and essential to our everyday lives as food: food fuels and satisfies our body, but also excites, disgusts, arouses, stimulates, and tantalizes all of our senses. It is functional and utilitarian, yet also hedonistic. Food consumption is also often a social act and our environment strongly influences what we consume. Yet, despite its obvious importance to us and our well-being, it appears that as a society the consumption of food has led to a variety of difficult challenges that require some level of behavior change by consumers. Though several decades of research have sought to find answers to the many food consumption challenges that exist, it appears that excessive consumption of the “wrong” foods and its consequences (e.g., obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc.) have begun to override prior concerns about food consumption deficit. Levels of obesity seem to be rising globally and apparently “no national success stories have been reported in the past 33 years” (Ng et al., 2014, p. 766).
  • Lowe, B., Fraser, I. and Souza-Monteiro, D. (2015). A change for the better? Digital health technologies and changing food consumption behaviors. Psychology & Marketing [Online] 32:585-600. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mar.20802.
    Much of the existing literature in the area of food and consumer behavior concerns consumer evaluation of individual products. However, obesity and other food related health conditions typically occur as a result of poor diets and lifestyle, rather than poor individual product choices. As consumers, we generally have an imperfect understanding of our diet and lifestyle and use heuristics to process complex diet and lifestyle information. Increasingly, as ubiquitous computing applications in the area of food and consumption proliferate a number of questions arise about how consumers are using these technologies to assist them in processing their diet and lifestyle information. This article addresses this juncture by integrating streams of research in food consumption, information processing and technology adoption to better understand consumer interaction with Digital Health Technologies to assist in information processing. As this represents a relatively new stream of research in an area of growing importance the article develops a conceptual framework about consumer interaction with Digital Health Technologies and identifies a number of pertinent questions for future research to examine.
  • Shibayama, K. and Fraser, I. (2014). Nonhomothetic growth models for the environmental kuznets curve. International Economic Review [Online] 55:919-942. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/iere.12076.
    We show the role of the elasticity of substitution between general consumption and the environment in environmental degradation. Specifically, our numerical experiments demonstrate, for a wide range of models, exponential utility generates the environmental Kuznets curve without adding any special assumptions. With exponential utility, the elasticity of substitution and hence the substitution effect between consumption and the environment are both decreasing in income. Hence, when income is low, society (the government) readily gives up environmental quality in return for more consumption, but it does not want to substitute consumption for the environment anymore, once it becomes wealthy enough.
  • Balcombe, K., Fraser, I. and McSorely, E. (2014). Visual Attention and Attribute Attendance in Multi-Attribute Choice Experiments. Journal of Applied Econometrics [Online] 30:447-467. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jae.2383.
    Decision strategies in multi-attribute choice experiments are investigated using eye-tracking. The visual attention towards, and attendance of, attributes is examined. Stated attendance is found to diverge substantively from visual attendance of attributes. However, stated and visual attendance are shown to be informative, non-overlapping sources of information about respondent utility functions when incorporated into model estimation. Eye-tracking also reveals systematic nonattendance of attributes only by a minority of respondents. Most respondents visually attend most attributes most of the time. We find no compelling evidence that the level of attention is related to respondent certainty, or that higher or lower value attributes receive more or less attention.
  • Balcombe, K., Bitzios, M., Fraser, I. and Haddock-Fraser, J. (2014). Using Attribute Importance Rankings Within Discrete Choice Experiments: An Application to Valuing Bread Attributes. Journal of Agricultural Economics [Online] 65:446-462. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1477-9552.12051.
    We present a new Bayesian econometric specification for a hypothetical Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) incorporating respondent ranking information about attribute importance. Our results indicate that a DCE debriefing question that asks respondents to rank the importance of attributes helps to explain the resulting choices. We also examine how mode of survey delivery (online and mail) impacts model performance, finding that results are not substantively affected by the mode of survey delivery. We conclude that the ranking data are a complementary source of information about respondent utility functions within hypothetical DCEs.
  • Lowe, B., Souza Monteiro, D. and Fraser, I. (2013). Nutritional Labelling Information: Utilisation of New Technologies. Journal of Marketing Management [Online] 29:1337-1366. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2013.798673.
    The increase in food-related diseases in society has led to a variety of public policy and private sector initiatives, such as the use of nutritional labels. Although nutritional labels have been shown to be broadly effective in terms of informing food choice, their influence is moderated by a variety of factors, such as how information is conveyed and processed by consumers. Recent advances in technology might overcome these limitations. Using a choice experiment, this paper examines consumer preferences for alternative technological devices that may aid consumer processing of nutritional information on food packaging. The results show which attributes of the technology consumers prefer, and identifies three distinct segments of consumers (‘information hungry innovators’, ‘active label readers’, and ‘onlookers’), and differences between them in relation to their preferences, demographics, and psychographic characteristics. The identification of segments is a novel aspect of this research, and highlights the importance of finding more customised solutions to the communication of nutritional information – an issue to which technology can contribute.
  • Di Minin, E., Fraser, I., Slotow, R. and MacMillan, D. (2013). Understanding heterogeneous preference of tourists for big game species: implications for conservation and management. Animal Conservation [Online] 16:249-258. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-1795.2012.00595.x.
    The ‘Big Five’ charismatic megafauna concept is considered key for financial competitiveness of protected areas in South Africa. However, this Western colonial concept is also leading to an underappreciation of wider biodiversity and the recovery of other endangered species. This study assessed the heterogeneity of tourist preferences for big game species in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, using a choice experiment approach, employing latent class modelling, in order to identify tourists' segments not necessarily drawn to the Big Five. The latent class segmentation identified two segments for both international and national tourists, largely defined by socio-economic characteristics. Less experienced and wealthier tourists were mostly interested in charismatic megafauna, while more experienced, but lower income tourists showed preferences for a broader range of species. Exploring viewing preferences in this way illustrates the potential to realign conservation businesses to achieve biodiversity conservation objectives. In the short term, managing protected areas for the Big Five and other favourite species will continue to deliver significant financial benefits to local stakeholders, but policy makers should consider using financial mechanisms to subsidize conservation actions for less charismatic species and develop the biodiversity base of safari tourism in South Africa.
  • MacMillan, D., Slotow, R., Fraser, I. and Di Minin, E. (2013). Conservation marketing and education for less charismatic biodiversity and conservation businesses for sustainable development. Animal Conservation [Online] 16:263-264. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acv.12060.
  • Balcombe, K. and Fraser, I. (2011). A General Treatment of ’Don’t Know’ Responses from Choice Experiments. European Review of Agricultural Economics [Online] 38:171-191. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/erae/jbr010.
    In this paper, a modelling approach is developed for the treatment of ‘don't know’(DK) responses, within choice experiments (CEs). A DK option is motivated by the need to allow respondents the opportunity to express uncertainty. Our model explains a DK using an entropy measure of the similarity between options given to respondents within the CE. We illustrate our model by applying it to a CE examining consumer preferences for nutrient contents in food. We find that similarity between options in a given choice set does explain the tendency for respondents to report DK.
  • Sharma, A., Bailey, A. and Fraser, I. (2011). Technology Adoption and Pest Control Strategies Among UK Cereal Farmers: Evidence from Parametric and Nonparametric Count Data Models. Journal of Agricultural Economics [Online] 62:73-92. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1477-9552.2010.00272.x.
    This paper examines the intensity of technology adoption and integrated pest management strategies employed by UK farmers, using both parametric and nonparametric methods. We employ a unique survey dataset collected from UK cereal farmers to assess the determinants of technology adoption in relation to pest management. Our preferred model specification is nonparametric, with models estimated yielding broadly similar results, with some important qualitative differences. All models indicate that total area farmed is positively related to the number of technologies adopted, whereas the number of years of experience of the farmer is negatively related. We also find evidence with our nonparametric specification of significant statistical differences for number of adoptions by region across the UK.
  • Balcombe, K., Fraser, I. and Di Falco, S. (2010). Traffic Lights and Food Choice: A Choice Experiment Examining the Relationship Between Nutritional Food Labels and Price. Food Policy [Online] 35:211-220. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2009.12.005.
    In this paper we investigate how consumers respond to the UK nutritional food label Traffic Light System (TLS). Employing a choice experiment (CE) we find that consumers appear to behave in a manner consistent with our expectations regarding the impact of the TLS. We identify a strong preference on the part of respondents to avoid a basket of goods containing a mix of foods with any “Red” lights. In addition, we find that consumers have a hierarchy of importance in terms of perception of the various nutrients examined and there are clear behavioural differences associated with particular socio-economic characteristics confirming early research on the use of nutrition labels. Overall our results indicate significant heterogeneity in the attitudes and responses of consumers to the TLS nutritional food labels within and across socio-economic strata.
  • Veríssimo, D., Fraser, I., Groombridge, J., Bristol, R. and MacMillan, D. (2009). Birds as tourism flagship species: a case study of tropical islands. Animal Conservation [Online] 12:549-558. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-1795.2009.00282.x.
    Species selected as flagships to promote conservation activities around the world are typically well known and charismatic mega-fauna. Unfortunately this limits the scope for applying the concept as some critical areas for biodiversity conservation, such as tropical islands, lack such species. In this study, we explore the potential to apply the concept of 'tourism flagship species' to tropical island birds of the Seychelles, an archipelago of considerable importance for conservation that is highly dependent on international tourism. In particular we wish to identify which species attributes are most influential with regard to their potential for fundraising among international tourists. Using a choice experiment approach and using state-of-the-art econometric methods, we found that conservation attributes and physical appearance of the bird species are both important in terms of raising funds for conservation. Nevertheless, conservation attributes ranked higher in the respondents preferences. Our results suggest that there is considerable potential for a variety of species to effectively act as flagships in developing nations that are dependent on international tourism and rich in biodiversity but lack charismatic fauna.
  • Bailey, A., Bertaglia, M., Fraser, I., Sharma, A. and Douarin, E. (2009). Integrated pest management portfolios in UK arable farming: results of a farmer survey. Pest Management Science [Online] 65:1030-1039. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ps.1790.
    Farmers are faced with a wide range of pest management (PM) options that can be adopted in isolation or alongside complementary or substitute strategies. This paper presents the results of a survey of UK cereal producers, focusing on the character and diversity of PM strategies currently used by, or available to, farmers. In addition, the survey asked various questions pertaining to agricultural policy participation, attitude towards environmental issues, sources of PM advice and information and the important characteristics of PM technologies. The results indicate that many farmers do make use of a suite of PM techniques, and that their choice of integrated PM (IPM) portfolio appears to be jointly dictated by farm characteristics and government policy. Results also indicate that portfolio choice does affect the number of subsequent insecticide applications per crop. These results help to identify the type of IPM portfolios considered to be adoptable by farmers and highlight the importance of substitution in IPM portfolios. As such, these results will help to direct R&D effort towards the realisation of more sustainable PM approaches and aid the identification of potential portfolio adopters. These findings highlight the opportunity that a revised agri-environmental policy design could generate in terms of enhancing coherent IPM portfolio adoption.
  • Balcombe, K., Chalak, A. and Fraser, I. (2009). Model Selection for the Mixed Logit with Bayesian Estimation. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management [Online] 57:226-237. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jeem.2008.06.001.
    In this paper, the mixed logit (ML) using Bayesian methods was employed to examine willingness-to-pay (WTP) to consume bread produced with reduced levels of pesticides so as to ameliorate environmental quality, from data generated by a choice experiment. Model comparison used the marginal likelihood, which is preferable for Bayesian model comparison and testing. Models containing constant and random parameters for a number of distributions were considered, along with models in ‘preference space’ and ‘WTP space’ as well as those allowing for misreporting. We found: strong support for the ML estimated in WTP space; little support for fixing the price coefficient a common practice advocated and adopted in the environmental economics literature; and, weak evidence for misreporting.
  • Chalak, A., Balcombe, K., Bailey, A. and Fraser, I. (2008). Pesticides,preference heterogeneity and environmental taxes. Journal of Agricultural Economics [Online] 59:537-554. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1477-9552.2008.00163.x.
    In this paper we present results from two choice experiments (CE),designed to take account of the different negative externalities associated with pesticide use in agricultural production.For cereal production,the most probable impact of pesticide use is a reduction in environmental quality.For fruit and vegetable production,the negative externality is on consumer health.Using latent class models we find evidence of the presence of preference heterogeneity in addition to reasonably high willingness to pay (WTP) estimates for a reduction in the use of pesticides for both environmental quality and consumer health.To place our WTP estimates in a policy context we convert them into an equivalent pesticide tax by type of externality.Our tax estimates suggest that pesticide taxes based on the primary externality resulting from a particular mode of agricultural production are a credible policy option that warrants further consideration.
  • Balcombe, K., Bailey, A., Chalak, A. and Fraser, I. (2008). Modifying Willingness to Pay Estimates where Respondents Mis-Report their Preferences. Applied Economics Letters [Online] 15:327-330. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504850600706123.
    The likelihood for the Logit model is modified, so as to take account of uncertainty associated with mis-reporting in stated preference experiments estimating willingness to pay (WTP). Monte Carlo results demonstrate the bias imparted to estimates where there is mis-reporting. The approach is applied to a data set examining consumer preferences for food produced employing a nonpesticide technology. Our modified approach leads to WTP that are substantially downwardly revised.
  • Fraser, I. and Stevens, C. (2008). Nitrogen Deposition and Loss of Biological Diversity: Agricultural Land Retirement as a Policy Response. Land Use Policy [Online] 25:455-463. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2007.10.003.
    Current levels of nitrogen deposition, especially ammonia, seriously impact upon ecosystems biological diversity. However, land use policy maintaining and enhancing key ecosystems in the UK in most cases does not explicitly take account of this pollution in terms of onsite management prescriptions. In this paper the economic potential of agricultural land retirement to reduce localised nitrogen deposition is examined. Employing a case study that combines nitrogen deposition modelling and agricultural land use change, reductions in nitrogen deposition necessary to reverse the loss of floral diversity are examined. The results indicate that agricultural land retirement is in principle a potentially useful policy instrument for dealing with nitrogen deposition from extensive livestock production.

Conference or workshop item

  • Souza Monteiro, D., Lowe, B. and Fraser, I. (2016). Changing food choice behaviors using calorie counters. In: Teyssier, S. and Crosetto, P. eds. 1st Winter Workshop on the Behavioral and Experimental Economics of Food Consumption.
  • Souza Monteiro, D., Lowe, B. and Fraser, I. (2013). Do conusmers value mobile technologies to assess nutritional information in retail environments?. In: American Marketing Association, Marketing and Public Policy Conference.
  • Fraser, I., Balcombe, K., Lowe, B. and Souza Monteiro, D. (2013). Attribute Non-Attendance and Attribute Importance Ranking Responses with Discrete Choice Experiments. In: 137th European Association of Agricultural Economists (EAAE) Seminar.
  • Souza Monteiro, D., Lowe, B. and Fraser, I. (2013). Consumer Willingness-to-Pay for Technology to Provide Nutritional Information in Retail environments. In: AMA Marketing and Public Policy Conference.
  • Lowe, B., Souza Monteiro, D. and Fraser, I. (2012). Nutritional Information Labeling and New Technologies: An Exploration of Consumer Preferences. In: Rita, P., Dionisio, P., Marques, S., Pereira, H. and Vinhas Da Silva, R. eds. European Academy of Marketing 41st Conference.
  • Haddock-Fraser, J., Fraser, I. and Hellyer, N. (2010). Food Choice and Functional Ingredients: An Experimental Auction Approach Employing Bread. In: First Joint EAAE/AAEA Conference on "The Economics of Food, Food Choice and Health".
  • Souza Monteiro, D., Lowe, B. and Fraser, I. (2009). Willingness to Pay for Nutritional Information in Shopping Baskets. In: AAEA & ACCI Joint Annual Meeting.
  • Haddock-Fraser, J., Bitzios, M. and Fraser, I. (2009). Functional Ingredients and Food Choice: Results from a Choice Experiment. In: Agricultural Economics Conference.
    In this paper we present the results of a Choice Experiment (CE) conducted to examine how the inclusion of an attribute for a functional ingredient affects consumer food choice. Specifically, we examine consumer attitudes towards bread and the inclusion of a functional ingredient (eg, inulin), which can be added to bread to increase the quantity and the effectiveness of fibre in the final product A novel feature of the design of this CE was the use of Means-End-Chain analysis via semi-structured interviews to reveal key attributes to be included in the CE. In addition, the CE included the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (DEBQ) so as to collect information on all participants underlying eating behaviours. Preliminary analysis of the data reveals that bread type determines choice, and that the inclusion of a functional ingredient yielded relatively small measures of value. Also, the use of a Latent Class Model reveals that there are differences in willingness-to-pay (WTP) between groups of respondents and that group membership can be partly explained by the DEBQ information. The public health implications of these findings are discussed.

Monograph

  • Fraser, I., Balcombe, K., Hussein, M. and Bradley, D. (2015). Consumer Preferences Regarding Country of Origin Labelling of Meat - FA0156. DEFRA.
    In this report we present our findings and conclusions on the economics of country of
    origin food labels (CoOL) as they apply to meat sold to consumers in the UK. The
    need for this research was motivated by recent EU legislation regarding how meat
    products can and might be labelled with respect to CoOL. The main objectives of the
    research were:

    1. To review and synthesise the existing literature to identify and understand UK
    consumer preferences regarding CoOL of meat products.

    2. To design and implement a series of hypothetical choice experiments (CEs) to
    ascertain consumer perception of the relative importance of different labelling
    requirements in terms of average UK consumer willingness-to-pay (WTP).

    3. To cover a broad range of meat products (i.e., unprocessed swine, sheep,
    goat and poultry) in fresh, chilled, frozen format plus meat used as an
    ingredient (including beef).

    To address these objectives we undertook three specific but related pieces of
    research:

    1. We designed and conducted 12 hypothetical CEs via six online survey
    instruments. To inform the design and implementation of our CEs we undertook an
    extensive review of the antecedent literature. This review revealed an extensive set
    of attributes to consider for use in our CEs. We then refined this set of attributes after
    extensive discussions and a small pilot study. The scope and coverage of products
    examined reflect the wide ranging scope of the legislation. For all 12 products we
    estimated WTP for CoOL and various other product attributes.

    2. We designed and implemented an additional hypothetical CE employing eyetracking (ET). The ET CE examined respondent attention and attendance to
    attributes during the CE. The results from the ET were compared to the online
    survey results yielding information in relation to how well respondents engaged with
    the CEs, magnitude of estimates as well as consistency. The results from our ET CE
    provide a means by which to assess the internal validity of the results provided by
    our 12 online CEs.

    3. We undertook an analysis of market transaction data; a revealed preference
    study using data obtained from Kantar. This piece of analysis allowed us to see the
    extent to which consumers have already responded to CoOL and if there exists a price premium being paid for CoOL in the UK. The results obtained from the Kantar
    data allowed us to assess the external validity of our CE results.
  • Shibayama, K. and Fraser, I. (2011). A General Equilibrium Model of Environmental Option Values. School of Economics, University of Kent at Canterbury. Available at: https://www.kent.ac.uk/economics/research/papers/2011/1107.html.
    In this paper we consider the option value of the environment employing a stochastic general equilibrium growth model. In our model, as in existing studies, because of irreversibility, the environment has significant real option value. However, unlike the existing literature, the value of the environment is endogenously determined in our general equilibrium setting. In our model, the elasticity of substitution between the environment and consumption not only has quantitative effects but also qualitative effects on the option value of the environment and the optimal allocation of land. We also show that the volatility of the exogenous shock process has quantitatively significant effects on the size of the option value which has important implications for the practical estimation of environmental option values.

Research report (external)

  • Gannon, T., Wood, J., Pina, A., Vasquez, E. and Fraser, I. (2012). The Evaluation of the Mandatory Polygraph Pilot. [Online]. Ministry of Justice Research Series. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/217436/evaluation-of-mandatory-polygraph-pilot.pdf.
    This report presents the findings from research commissioned to examine the impact of
    mandatory polygraph testing for sexual offenders released on licence and under supervision
    by probation staff in two regions in England. Mandatory polygraph testing for adult sexual
    offenders began in April 2009 across the East and West Midlands probation regions. The use
    of the polygraph in these pilot regions was facilitated under the auspices of the Offender
    Management Act 2007, which allowed offender managers to insert a polygraph testing
    condition into the licences of offenders released from sentences of 12 months or more for
    a sexual offence.
    The University of Kent was commissioned to evaluate the pilot from 1 April 2010. The
    evaluation described in this report refers to 332 ‘polygraph offenders’ who received a first
    polygraph test or who were released into the pilot areas since that date. Research was also
    undertaken on 303 offenders in seven probation trusts from two ‘comparison regions’, where
    licence supervision did not include polygraph testing (‘comparison offenders’).
    The research period described in this report covers 1 April 2010 to 21 December 2011.
    These dates enabled a sufficient throughput of sexual offenders to yield a representative
    research sample.
  • Gannon, T., Wood, J., Pina, A., Vasquez, E. and Fraser, I. (2012). The Evaluation of the Mandatory Polygraph Pilot With Sexual Offenders. [Online]. Ministry of Justice. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/217436/evaluation-of-mandatory-polygraph-pilot.pdf.

Thesis

  • Paganini, M. (2016). An Efficiency Analysis of Firms in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    This thesis provides a comprehensive examination of firm-level performance for a large sample of firms in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). To undertake the analysis of firm-level performance, a number of different empirical studies are presented. In general, our choice of method is stochastic frontier approach (SFA), although we also employ a novel approach to examine resource mis-allocation at the firm level. Our efficiency analysis is conducted by applying a one-step approach. The data we use is a unique firm-level data covering many countries within SSA. The firms that we focus on are drawn from the manufacturing sector. In our analysis we make use of two waves of the survey covering 2005 and 2010. First, we analyse the relationship technical efficiency (TE) and foreign direct investments (FDI). We cannot reject the hypothesis of a positive relationship between TE and FDI at the firm level. Second, we assess the TE of exporting firms relative to non-exporters by correcting for biases that can occur using a sample selection specification. We find that the type of firm ownership is a significant determinant in encouraging openness to trade. Third, we undertake a cost efficiency (CE) analysis of private versus public firms. We confirm that private ownership and trade openness promotes a higher efficiency level. Finally, we investigate firm-level differences in terms of resource mis-allocation controlling for size and sectors. We find high variation in the measures of mis-allocation depending on the assumed degree of substitution among inputs. To reveal this result, we employed a constant elasticity of substitution (CES) production function which extends earlier efforts in the literature that have been based on a Cobb-Douglas (C-D) specification. Overall, our results confirm that SSA firms could encourage greater efficiency by allocating more resources to private and foreign firms and promoting market competition through exporting, particularly in the most tradable sectors, such as agriculture. This would represent an important avenue to promote the growth of firms and build a more viable private sector to encourage the development of SSA countries.
  • King, S. (2015). Economic Valuation and Optimisation of River Barrier Mitigation Actions.
    Infrastructure, such as dams, weirs and culverts, disrupt the longitudinal connectivity of rivers, causing adverse impacts on fish and other species. This compromises the ability of river ecosystems to provide a range of services that contribute to human well-being. Improving fish passage at artificial barriers is an economic river restoration policy option that can improve the delivery of river ecosystem services provision. Whilst a number of methodologies exist to cost-effectively prioritize barriers for mitigation action, there is also now considerable interest in estimating the economic benefits of increased ecosystem service provision from investing in this activity. This is relevant in a number of policy contexts, including the Water Framework Directive in the EU. This thesis presents a novel bio-economic model that addresses the dual problem of prescribing cost optimal river barrier mitigation solutions whilst, simultaneously, estimating the social benefit of undertaking this activity. Minimal cost solutions are obtained for the problem of barrier mitigation decisions using a mixed integer linear program (MILP). The benefit from marginal improvements in river connectivity and fish species responses is then estimated using the Choice Experiment method. Incorporating these benefit estimates into the MILP generates the final bio-economic model. The specific advantage of this approach is it can readily inform cost benefit analysis of river barrier mitigation policy. The methods are demonstrated using the River Wey in South East England, containing over 650 artificial barriers, as a case study. For the case study, the benefits of investing in river barrier mitigation exceed costs at all budget levels, with the most socially efficient level of investment identified as approximately £30M.
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