Agent based models of consumer behavior in social networks: Adoption of organic foods

Ringa, Notice
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University of Guelph

We model consumer acceptance of organic foods via an agent-based model (ABM), where we consider the acceptance taking place at the individual level (micro-level). Each age is assigned particular characteristics uch as the perceived benefit of consuming an organic product versus its standard counterpart, the sensitivity to price difference between the organic and the standard product, and a consumer's follower tendency. The last characteristic allows the studying of each individual's social network influence on its decision. Food type and consumer attributes play an important role in one's choice of a product. This phenomenon is dynamic in nature, as psychology explains how individuals' characters and behavior keep changing over time with respect to many factors around them. We model consumer acceptance of an organic food product in comparison to its conventional counterpart. We develop consumers' utility functions and we use agent based modeling to capture their heterogeneity and their dynamic interactions.

consumer behavior, social networks, organic foods, agent-based model, micro-level