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Applied Microeconomics Group Seminar Street food safety in urban markets

Speaker: Dr Caitlin Brown, University of Manchester

Abstract: Street food is an affordable and convenient source of nutrition for billions of consumers in low- and middle-income countries, as well as a stable source of employment for vendors. However, street food is also considered one of the main determinants of foodborne diseases. Using an RCT experiment, we aim to understand the factors that can influence the production and consumption of safer food in Kolkata, India. Vendors in both treatment arms receive a set of infrastructure aimed at improving health and safety conditions for food preparation. Vendors in one treatment arm additionally receive weekly food safety training. We collect weekly data in addition to a comprehensive baseline and endline survey on a range of outcomes. We find that vendors in both treatment arms use the infrastructure provided; however, we do not find any spillover effects to other food safety behaviours or broader kiosk activities. Using a discrete choice experiment, we find that street food consumers are willing to pay almost three times more for a clean kiosk, suggesting some information asymmetry regarding the value of safe food in this market.

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