Please wait a minute...
Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2021, Vol. 20 Issue (4): 1012-1020    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(20)63584-5
Section 3: Innovation and inclusive development for poverty alleviation Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Consumers’ willingness to pay for ethical consumption initiatives on e-commerce platforms
WANG Er-peng1, AN Ning2, GENG Xian-hui2, Zhifeng GAO3, Emmanuel KIPROP
1 School of Economics and Management, Nanjing Tech University, Nanjing 211816, P.R.China
2 College of Economics and Management, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, P.R.China
3 Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0240, USA
Download:  PDF in ScienceDirect  
Export:  BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      


Despite China’s fast-growing e-commerce and its great achievement in promoting poverty alleviation through consumption, little is known about Chinese consumers’ online ethical consumption.  Using the payment card elicitation method, this paper designs a within-subject survey and a between-subject survey to investigate Chinese consumers’ quality perception and preference for apples from poverty-stricken areas.  The results show that before “information shock”, emphasizing that taste and safety attributes of apples from poverty-stricken areas are the same as the conventional ones, Chinese consumers on average are willing to pay a 31% premium for apples from poverty-stricken areas.  After “information shock”, both the within-subject and between-subject designs show a minimal drop of the premium, implying that the ethical attribute is the main motivation for buying apples from poverty-stricken areas.  The regression results show that quality perception of private attributes has significant effect on consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for apples from poverty-stricken areas, and trust in government supervision of e-commerce plays an essential role in motivating online ethical consumption.     
Keywords:  ethical consumption        apples from poverty-stricken areas        WTP        interval regression
Received: 25 April 2020   Accepted: 28 March 2021
Fund: We thank the comments from the editor and anonymous reviewers. The authors acknowledged the support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71903088) and the Project of Humanities and Social Science of the Ministry of Education of China (19YJC790132).
Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence GENG Xian-hui, E-mail:   
About author:  WANG Er-peng, E-mail:;

Cite this article: 

WANG Er-peng, AN Ning, GENG Xian-hui, Zhifeng GAO, Emmanuel KIPROP. 2021. Consumers’ willingness to pay for ethical consumption initiatives on e-commerce platforms. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 20(4): 1012-1020.

Alberini A. 1995. Efficiency vs bias of willingness-to-pay estimates: Bivariate and interval-data models. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 29, 169–180.
Amemiya T. 1973. Regression analysis when the dependent variable is truncated normal. Econometrica, 41, 997–1016.
Arnot C, Boxall P C, Cash S B. 2006. Do ethical consumers care about price? A revealed preference analysis of fair trade coffee purchases. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 54, 555–565.
Balmer J M T, Maignan I, Ferrell O C. 2001. Corporate citizenship as a marketing instrument - Concepts, evidence and research directions. European Journal of Marketing, 35, 457–484.
Basu A K, Hicks R L. 2008. Label performance and the willingness to pay for fair trade coffee: A cross-national perspective. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 32, 470–478.
Batte M T, Hooker N H, Haab T C, Beaverson J. 2007. Putting their money where their mouths are: Consumer willingness to pay for multi-ingredient, processed organic food products. Food Policy, 32, 145–159.
Bird K, Hughes D R. 1997. Ethical consumerism: The case of “fairly-traded” coffee. Business Ethics: A European Review, 6, 159–167.
Blend J R, Van Ravenswaay E O. 1999. Measuring consumer demand for ecolabeled apples. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 81, 1072–1077.
Bougherara D, Combris P. 2009. Eco-labelled food products: What are consumers paying for? European Review of Agricultural Economics, 36, 321–341.
Cameron A C, Trivedi P K. 2010. Microeconometrics Using Stata. Stata Press, TX. pp. 535–536.
Carrigan M, Attalla A. 2001. The myth of the ethical consumer– do ethics matter in purchase behaviour? Journal of Consumer Marketing, 18, 560–578.
Chen X, Gao Z, Swisher M, House L, Zhao X. 2018. Eco-labeling in the fresh produce market: Not all environmentally friendly labels are equally valued. Ecological Economics, 154, 201–210.
CGTN (China Global Television Network). 2019. Tackling poverty with apple in rural Shaanxi. [2020-12-21].
Dickson M A. 2000. Personal values, beliefs, knowledge, and attitudes relating to intentions to purchase apparel from socially responsible businesses. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 18, 19–30.
Ferrell O C, Gresham L G. 1985. A contingency framework for understanding ethical decision making in marketing. Journal of Marketing, 49, 87–96.
Gao Z, House L A, Xie J. 2016. Online survey data quality and its implication for willingness-to-pay: a cross-country comparison. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 64, 199–221.
Gao Z, Li C, Bai J, Fu J. 2020. Chinese consumer quality perception and preference of sustainable milk. China Economic Review, 59, 100939.
Hackl F, Pruckner G J. 1999. On the gap between payment card and closed-ended CVM-answers. Applied Economics, 31, 733–742.
Hanemann W M. 1994. Valuing the environment through contingent valuation. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 8, 19–43.
Hindsley P, McEvoy D M, Morgan O A. 2020. Consumer demand for ethical products and the role of cultural worldviews: The case of direct-trade coffee. Ecological Economics, 177, 106776.
Hu W. 2006. Comparing consumers’ preferences and willingness to pay for non-GM oil using a contingent valuation approach. Empirical Economics, 31, 143–150.
Hu W, Timothy W, Sandra B, Linda C, Wen Y. 2011. Assessing consumer willingness to pay for value-added blueberry products using a payment card survey. Journal of Agricultural & Applied Economics, 43, 243–258.
Huang J K. 2020. Impacts of COVID-19 on agriculture and rural poverty in China. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 19, 2849–2853.
Hunt S D, Vitell S J. 2006. The general theory of marketing ethics: A revision and three questions. Journal of Macromarketing, 26, 143–153.
JD Big Data Research Institute. 2018. Look at the trend of food online shopping from Jingdong big data. [2020-10-11]. (in Chinese)
Jiang Y, Wang H H, Jin S, Delgado M S. 2019. The promising effect of a green food label in the new online market. Sustainability, 11, 796.
Jones M S, House L A, Gao Z. 2015. Respondent screening and revealed preference axioms: testing quarantining methods for enhanced data quality in web panel surveys. Public Opinion Quarterly, 79, 687–709.
Lancaster K J. 1966. A new approach to consumer theory. The Journal of Political Economy, 74, 132–157.
Lappeman J, Orpwood T, Russell M, Zeller T, Jansson J. 2019. Personal values and willingness to pay for fair trade coffee in Cape Town, South Africa. Journal of Cleaner Production, 239, 118012.
Liu R, Gao Z, Nayga Jr R M, Snell H A, Ma H. 2019. Consumers’ valuation for food traceability in China: Does trust matter? Food Policy, 88, 101768.
Luo R F, Liu C F, Gao J J, Wang T Y, Zhi H Y, Shi P F, Huang J K. 2020. Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural poverty and policy responses in China. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 19, 2946–2964.
Marta-Pedroso C, Freitas H, Domingos T. 2007. Testing for the survey mode effect on contingent valuation data quality: A case study of web based versus in-person interviews. Ecological Economics, 62, 388–398.
Moon W, Florkowski W J, Brückner B, Schonhof I. 2002. Willingness to pay for environmental practices: Implications for Eco-Labeling. Land Economics, 78, 88–102.
Nielsen J S. 2011. Use of the Internet for willingness-to-pay surveys: A comparison of face-to-face and web-based interviews. Resource & Energy Economics, 33, 119–129.
De Pelsmacker P, Driesen L, Rayp G. 2005. Do consumers care about ethics? Willingness to pay for fair trade coffee. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 39, 363–385.
Pinto D C, Borges A, Herter M M, Ferreira M B. 2020. Reducing ingroup bias in ethical consumption: The role of construal levels and social goodwill. Business Ethics Quarterly, 30, 31–63.
Ready R C, Navrud S, Dubourg W R. 2001. How do respondents with uncertain willingness to pay answer contingent valuation questions? Land Economics, 77, 315–326.
Roberts J A. 1996. Will the real socially responsible consumer please step forward? Business Horizons, 39, 79–83.
Shaw D, Clarke I. 1999. Belief formation in ethical consumer groups: An exploratory study. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 17, 109–120.
Thompson G D, Kidwell J. 1998. Explaining the choice of organic produce: Cosmetic defects, prices, and consumer preferences. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 80, 277–287.
Venkatachalam L. 2004. The contingent valuation method: A review. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 24, 89–124.
Vitell S J, Singhapakdi A, Thomas J. 2001. Consumer ethics: An application and empirical testing of the Hunt–Vitell theory of ethics. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 18, 153–178.
Wang E, Gao Z. 2017. Chinese consumer quality perception and preference of traditional sustainable rice produced by the integrated rice–fish system. Sustainability, 9, 2282.
Wang, E, Gao Z, Heng Y. 2018. Improve access to the EU market by identifying French consumer preference for fresh fruit from China. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 17, 1463-–1474.
Wang E, Gao Z, Heng Y, Shi L. 2019. Chinese consumers’ preferences for food quality test/measurement indicators and cues of milk powder: A case of Zhengzhou, China. Food Policy, 89, 101791.
Xinhua. 2018. Fuji apples help ease poverty in Xinjiang. [2018-12-3].
Xinhua. 2019. E-commerce alliance helps promote agro products by poor areas. [2019-11-24].
Xinhua. 2020. Farmers shake off poverty by planting apples in Zhaotong, Yunnan. [2020-8-9].
Yang S H, Ping Q, Hu W, Liu Y. 2014. Product information and Chinese consumers’ willingness-to-pay for fair trade coffee. China Agricultural Economic Review, 6, 278–294.
Yin S, Wu L, Du L, Chen M. 2010. Consumers’ purchase intention of organic food in China. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 90, 1361–1367.
Yu X, Gao Z, Zeng Y. 2014. Willingness to pay for the “Green Food” in China. Food Policy, 45, 80–87.
Zander K, Schleenbecker R, Hamm U. 2018. Consumer behaviour in the organic and fairtrade food market in Europe. In: Fair Trade and Organic Agriculture: A Winning Combination. Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux International. pp. 51–60.
No related articles found!
No Suggested Reading articles found!