Risk Attitudes, Social Interactions, and the Willingness to Pay for Genotyping in Dairy Production


Bovine Mastitis is one of the most prevalent and costly production diseases in the dairy industry in Canada and worldwide causing major animal welfare problems, environmental problems, and productivity losses. In this paper, we examine the effects of risk attitudes and social interactions on the willingness to pay (WTP) for genotyping animals for susceptibility to a chronic mastitis trait. We use contingent valuation with double bounded dichotomous choice questions to elicit producers’ WTP. The estimated mean WTP for genotyping is approximately $50 per animal. Compared to the current market prices of commercially available comprehensive genotyping services, this estimate suggests a significant market potential for genotyping to be bundled with economically important disease traits. We also find evidence that both risk attitudes and social interactions have strong effects on the WTP for genotyping. Farmers with higher risk tolerance are willing to pay more for genotyping service. For dairy farmers with more concern about mastitis, risk tolerance has no significant effect on the WTP, while social interactions have a significant effect on the WTP. We also find a strong interaction effect between risk tolerance and social interactions. The findings encourage interest in questions about how risk attitudes, social networks, and their interactions shape the adoption of and the WTP for a novel agricultural technology.

Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 65: 249-270.