CONSUMER BEHAVIOR AND GROWER PREFERENCE ANALYSIS FOR AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation consists of three independent but related studies that investigate consumer behavior and grower preference for specialty crops. I analyze consumer purchase decisions for flowers considering two different purchase uses, own use and gift use. I also evaluate growers’ preference and willingness to pay for improved fruit cultivars, focusing on improvements in increased resistance to diseases and superior fruit quality. These results enable calculation of producer, consumer, and total welfare change under crop loss due to disease. The first study applies the Heckman two step method to investigate differences and similarities for Washington state consumer cut flower purchase behaviors for own use and gift giving. The results indicate that some factors affecting consumer purchase decisions (purchase likelihood and expenditure amount) for own use differ from as those affecting purchase decision for gift giving. These findings are useful to target potential consumers. The second study use a discrete choice experiment method to investigate southeastern states (i.e., Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina) peach grower preferences for various attributes of new peach varieties. The mixed logit model results indicate peach growers have heterogeneous preferences for attributes of peach cultivars and are willing to pay higher premiums for peaches with higher resistance to disease but lower premiums for fruit quality attributes. WTP for disease resistance and fruit quality also differ across harvest seasons. The third study evaluates Florida strawberry grower preferences for disease resistance and fruit quality. Results suggest that larger operations are more likely to grow new cultivars with disease improvement. This study calculates the welfare loss for the Florida strawberry industry after methyl bromide phase-out and crop loss due to disease. These results have important implications to Florida strawberry industry and breeders in the development of new cultivars with disease improvement to reduce crop loss percentage.