Essays on Choice and Demand Analysis of Organic and Conventional Milk in the United States
Alviola IV, Pedro A.
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This dissertation has four interrelated studies, namely (1) the characterization of milk purchase choices which included the purchase of organic milk, both organic and conventional milk and conventional milk only; (2) the estimation of a single-equation household demand function for organic and conventional milk; (3) the assessment of binary choice models for organic milk using the Brier Probability score and Yates partition, and (4) the estimation of demand systems that addresses the censoring issue through the use of econometric techniques. In the first paper, the study utilized the estimation of both multinomial logit and probit models in examining a set of causal socio-demographic variables in explaining the purchase of three outcome milk choices namely organic milk, organic and conventional milk and conventional milk only. These crucial variables include income, household size, education level and employment of household head, race, ethnicity and region. Using the 2004 Nielsen Homescan Panel, the second study used the Heckman two-step procedure in calculating the own-price, cross-price, and income elasticities by estimating the demand relationships for both organic and conventional milk. Results indicated that organic and conventional milk are substitutes. Also, an asymmetric pattern existed with regard to the substitution patterns of the respective milk types. Likewise, the third study showed that predictive outcomes from binary choice models associated with organic milk can be enhanced with the use of the Brier score method. In this case, specifications omitting important socio-demographic variables reduced the variability of predicted probabilities and therefore limited its sorting ability. The last study estimated both censored Almost Ideal Demand Systems (AIDS) and Quadratic Almost Ideal Demand System (QUAIDS) specifications in modeling nonalcoholic beverages. In this research, five estimation techniques were used which included the usage of Iterated Seemingly Unrelated Regression (ITSUR), two stage methods such as the Heien and Wessells (1990) and the Shonkwiler and Yen (1999) approaches, Generalized Maximum Entropy and the Dong, Gould and Kaiser (2004a) methods. The findings of the study showed that at various censoring techniques, price elasticity estimates were observed to have greater variability in highly censored nonalcoholic beverage items such as tea, coffee and bottled water.