Measuring the Impact of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Consumer Behavior

O. Ashton Morgan, John C. Whitehead, William L. Huth, Greg S. Martin and Richard Sjolander


We exploit the timing of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill to develop a unique dataset of oyster consumer actual and anticipated behavior immediately prior to and following the event. A revealed and stated preference model allows both short- and longer-term responses to the spill to be investigated. Findings indicate that the BP spill had a negative impact on oyster demand in terms of short-run actual behavior, although spill effects show signs of dissipating several months following the spill. By accounting for unobserved heterogeneity in the sample, findings further indicate that short- and longer-term spill responses differ across consumer groups. (JEL Q22, Q51)

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