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New research indicates that public opinion influences broiler prices

22 April 2019, at 2:00pm

Researchers exploring the fluctuations of broiler prices during avian influenza outbreaks demonstrated that public opinion has a bigger influence on broiler prices than the disease outbreak alone.

The study, published in the journal Sustainability, explores the role that diseases like avian influenza plays in the global broiler market. When researching this topic, the scientists tracked outbreaks of avian influenza as well as search engine metadata in order to gauge public opinion over the course of the outbreak – all while measuring broiler prices. The models the researchers created indicated that public opinion, not avian influenza outbreaks alone, directly impacts broiler prices.

The study used longitudinal data from China spanning from November 2004 to November 2017. The researchers concluded that outbreaks of avian influenza in broilers or in humans did not have a significant impact on broiler price. The data from the models indicated that on average, public opinion had a larger negative impact on broiler price in local and regional markets.

This research highlights the importance of studying public opinion when considering the stability of livestock commodity prices. This research also indicates that when facing a global epidemic of zoonotic diseases, media outlets and state authorities have the potential to become “opinion leaders” and could possibly mitigate negative public opinions during the outbreak. The findings of this report also have implications for agricultural insurance markets. Accounting for public opinion as it relates to epidemic animal diseases could change how companies make their forecasts, or what products they decide to market and when.

The full research paper can be read here.