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Essays on Incomplete Consideration; Consumers’ Beliefs; and Information on Consumers’ Choice.

Henriette Gitungwa, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation consists of three essays. The first essay examines the implications of incomplete consideration of consumer products on attribute valuation. We documented consideration sets of a large number (n=33) of products for each of the three product categories (cereal, bread, and cracker) by grouping them into three subsets: least healthy, medium healthy, and healthiest subsets. We find differences in consumers’ marginal valuations for cereal, bread, and cracker attributes not only between consideration sets and the full consideration assumption but also from one consideration set to another. We find significant differences in valuation of fiber, calories, fat, sodium and sugar. Overall, attribute valuation estimates are markedly different when consideration sets are documented. The second essay estimates the relationship between consumers’ beliefs about product price, taste, and health and product consideration. The results show that beliefs about taste preferences and health influence people’s choices of the product set to view; believing that products in a set were healthier or tastier positively predicted the choice to view that set of products. The findings suggest that models of rational incomplete consideration depend importantly on people’s beliefs. Inattention to product options may further reduce the effectiveness of policies aiming to promote healthier food choices through consumer comparison of nutrition information or the application of taxes or subsidies by preventing comparison of nutritionally diverse products.The third essay examines whether exposing consumers to different prompt messages affects their beliefs and the set of products considered. The findings show that exposing consumers to different prompt messages affects the product sets people choose to view. Health-related prompts increased decisions to view healthier products sets, which leads to healthier product choice. Our findings suggest that simpler messages are more effective at directing attention to healthy product sets. We also find that prompting people did not change beliefs about taste, health, or prices, but instead changed the predicted impact of beliefs on products set choice.

Subject Area

Agricultural economics|Public health|Nutrition

Recommended Citation

Gitungwa, Henriette, "Essays on Incomplete Consideration; Consumers’ Beliefs; and Information on Consumers’ Choice." (2023). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI30486407.