Jared Gars receives an Archer Early Career Grant to explore consumer response to antibiotics and other food technologies.

As we have seen through the impact of citrus greening on the Florida Orange industry, plant disease outbreaks pose a dangerous threat to sustainability, food security, and grower livelihoods. However, finding a scientific solution is only half of the challenge. Once a solution is found, it must be one the public will trust enough to implement.  

Jared Gars, assistant professor of Food and Resource Economics, plans to address this timely topic through applied behavioral economics research looking at the relationships between politics and trust in science when it comes to new food technologies.    

“The need for new and sometimes controversial technologies or techniques seems to be growing,” Gars said. “This research is seeking to fill the gap in our understanding of how politics, science, and markets interact.”   

Gars, who joined the University of Florida in 2022, received an Archer Early Career Seed Grant, which will fund this innovative study.    

“I’m thankful to be recognized and supported by IFAS to study the welfare impacts of polarization on an industry that’s vital to Florida,” Gars said. “It’s also an honor to receive a grant named after Douglas Archer, whose impressive research career spanned topics related to health, technology, and regulations in the food system.”  

Through this project, Gars plans to explore consumer responses to food technologies that could be vital to combating plant pests and disease outbreaks. The study will look at the potential unease among consumers regarding controversial technologies such as hormones and antibiotics.  

“Broadly, my work uses experimental methods to address questions in the areas of behavioral economics. This includes looking at the agri-food sector, media and polarization, and regulation in public institutions,” Gars said. “This study brings together these pieces into one project, which I’m excited about.”  

Working with a collaborator from the University of Warwick, Gars will estimate the impact of the introduction of antibiotic use policy on demand, paying particular attention to the nuances of political affiliation and its effect on trust in the science behind antibiotic use and regulatory agencies.  

“Our goal is to use state-of-the-art techniques to provide the ag industry and researchers with evidence on the potential costs and benefits of investing in and utilizing new and controversial technologies. We hope this work will also provide policymakers with insights on how to communicate policies and regulations that maximize the returns to innovation.” 



Alena Poulin
Posted: April 23, 2024

Category: Agriculture, Crops, Pests & Disease, UF/IFAS Research
Tags: Food And Resource Economics, Food And Resource Economics Research

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