Journal Publications:

  • Choi, J. Yue, C., Luby, J., Zhao, S., Gallardo, K. McCracken, V., and J. McFerson. 2017. Estimation of Market Equilibrium Values for Apple Attributes. Revised and Resubmitted to China Agricultural Economic Review.

Job Market Paper:

    • Investigating Consumer Community Supported Agriculture Purchasing Decision under Risk: An Application of Cumulative Prospect Theory
Using the framework of Cumulative Prospect Theory (CPT), this study investigates consumers’ Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) purchasing decisions under risk and uncertainty.  We analyze discrete choice experiment data by employing a CPT framework that allows for flexible reference points and individual preference heterogeneity. For product attributes, the estimation results identify significant CSA intrinsic purchasing utility, followed by price, product variety, and distance. The parameter estimates of loss aversion, risk curvature, and probability weighting vary significantly across the loss model, the gain model, and the full model with both gain and loss. Further comparison between different model specifications suggests that CPT model with the control of all risk parameters generates better goodness of fit than the Expected Utility model. Results from market sensitivity analysis indicate that while CSA operator transfers production risk partially to its members, this transferred risk becomes the determinant of CSA market share in return. In addition, the results shed light on consumer behavior when purchasing products with risky prospect and provide marketing implications for CSA.

Working Papers:

    • Zhao, S., and C. Yue. An Empirical Analysis of Producer Risk Preferences: Comparing between Commodity Crop and Specialty Crop
Producers’ decisions during agricultural production such as crop insurance, contract agreement, and technology adoption, involves considerable risk and uncertainty. Particularly, specialty crop production is more vulnerable to risks and requires more intensive management than commodity crop production, while risk mitigation tools are comparatively limited. We empirically utilize Cumulative Prospect Theory (CPT) framework to analyze risk preferences of a sample US producers, and further compare the preference differences between commodity crop and specialty crop producers. Joint effects of reference dependent, diminishing sensitivity, loss aversion and probability weighting are identified, and certain farm characteristics and producer demographics are estimated to have significant impacts on each risk parameter. Additionally, specialty crop producers tend to have a higher degree of loss aversion and lower level of probability distortion compared to commodity crop producers. Those results shed light on past agricultural policies and future design of contract and insurance for specialty crops.
    • Zhao, S., and C. Yue. How Information affects Consumer Acceptance of Nano-packaged Food Products

Many food companies are developing nanotechnology modified food packages and it is critical to understand the informational and attitudinal factors that influence public acceptance of nano-packaging. This study uses experimental auction with real nano-packaged products to test and compare consumer acceptance for nano-packaged food products under the effects of incremental information from various sources. The results indicate consumer acceptance for and attitude toward nano-packaged food products are changing along with the information perception: for plain-labeled food products, reliance on government regulation is the only determinant influencing participants’ willingness to pay; after general information about nanotechnology is given, participants are willing to pay more for nano-packaged products, which is affected by both their general attitude towards new food technology and concerns about environment/health; when detailed information from private industry, environmental agency, and government are provided, concern about the environment/health becomes the only factor that significantly influence participant willingness to pay for nano-packaged food products. Our results draw valuable implications from both policy and marketing aspects.

    • Exploring U.S. Grocery Shopper Profiles: Expected Decision Making versus Decision Framing

As one of the most basic elements in consumer behavior, grocery shopping has been studied from various angles such as shopping trip, location, and pricing. In this paper, I investigate the relationships and effects among grocery shopping strategy, consumer purchasing decision, and socio-demographic using the Consumer Expenditure (CE) Diary data of 65,680 households from 1996 to 2014. Two key variables are generated to characterize grocery shopper profile. The Price Index indicates the relative price level paid for total groceries, and Grocery Clustering Index is calculated as a proxy variable for decision framing. Using cluster analysis, four grocery shopper profiles are identified, including traditional shoppers, price seekers, convenience seekers, and narrow framers. Each shopper profile is associated with identical characteristics. In addition, I further evaluated the effect of Grocery Clustering on the price paid for a typical grocery across each shopper profile. The estimation results suggest that the decision framing may serve as the theoretical explanation for the purchasing decisions made by narrow framers and traditional shoppers, which provides a significant addition to help better understand the heterogeneous behaviors of grocery shoppers.

Papers in Progress:

    • Optimal Strategy of Fruit Breeding Programs: Traditional Breeding versus Marker-Assisted Breeding
    • Investigating the Predictive Power of Machine Learning in Consumer Choice under Risk and Uncertainty
    • Decision-making for Rural Pension Insurance Policy in China: The effect of Individual Cognitive Ability
    • Investigating Farmers' Optimal Responses to Whole Farm Revenue Insurance: An Application of CPT
    • Evaluating Health Shocks on the Agricultural Labor Supply of Mid-aged and Older Rural Households in China 
    • Parental Influence and Intervention on Students’ USDA NSLP Participation and Food Selection, Intake, Waste

Research Projects

  • Spring 2012 - Fall 2013: RosBREED: Enabling Marker-assisted Breeding in Rosaceae. Specialty Crop Research Initiative, United State Department of Agriculture.
  • Fall 2013 - Spring 2014: Comparing Public Attitudes towards Genetically-Modified and Nanotechnology-Based Foods and Labeling. Food Policy Research Center, University of Minnesota.
  • Spring 2014 - Fall 2016: RosBREED: Combining Disease Resistance with Horticultural Quality in New Rosaceous cultivars. Specialty Crop Research Initiative, United States Department of Agriculture.
  • Spring 2015 - Fall 2015: Building Market Foundations for Sustainable Vegetable Production and Processing: A Consumer and Metrics-Based Approach. Specialty Crop Research Initiative, United States Department of Agriculture.
  • Spring 2016 - Fall 2016: Profitability and Sustainability Assessment of Minnesota's Rapidly Expanding Aquaponic Food Industry. MnDRIVE-Global Food Ventures.
  • Spring 2016 - Fall 2016: Investigating Marketing Tactics to Increase Generation Y Consumers Use of Flowers. American Floral Endowment.
  • Fall 2016 - Spring 2017: Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water: Reclaiming Wastewater from Local Food Industries to Produce Energy and High-value Urban Crops. MnDRIVE On the Horizon, University of Minnesota.