NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Alex M. Susskind

Statler Hall, Room 250
School of Hotel Administration
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Cornell University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2020Does Information Disclosure Improve Consumer Knowledge? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment of Restaurant Menu Calorie Labels
with John Cawley, Barton Willage: w27126
The United States, in 2018, implemented a nationwide requirement that chain restaurants disclose calorie information on their menus and menu boards. This law was motivated by concern that consumers underestimate the number of calories in restaurant food, but it remains unclear the extent to which this information disclosure affects consumer knowledge. This paper fills that gap by estimating the impact of information disclosure on consumer knowledge through a randomized controlled field experiment of calorie labels on the menus of a full-service restaurant. The results indicate that information disclosure significantly reduces the extent to which consumers underestimate the number of calories in restaurant food; the labels improve the accuracy of consumers’ post-meal estimates of the numbe...
August 2018The Impact of Information Disclosure on Consumer Behavior: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment of Calorie Labels on Restaurant Menus
with John Cawley, Barton Willage: w24889
The impact of information on consumer behavior is a classic topic in economics, and there has recently been particular interest in whether providing nutritional information leads consumers to choose healthier diets. For example, a nationwide requirement of calorie counts on the menus of chain restaurants took effect in the U.S. in May, 2018, and the results of such information disclosure are not well known. To estimate the impact of menu labeling, we conducted a randomized controlled field experiment in two full-service restaurants, in which the control group received the usual menus and the treatment group received the same menus but with calorie counts. We estimate that the labels resulted in a 3.0% reduction in calories ordered, with the reduction occurring in appetizers and entrees but...

Cawley, John, Alex Susskind, and Barton Willage. Forthcoming, 2020. “The Impact of Information Disclosure on Consumer Behavior: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment of Calorie Labels on Restaurant Menus.” Journal of Policy Analysis & Management.

 
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