Information asymmetry and traceability incentives for food safety

Moises A. Resende-Filho, Terrance M. Hurley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


We define traceability by its precision that is the probability of finding the source of a problem. We consider a downstream food processor firm (principal) that sets traceability precision and contingent payments so to induce homogeneous upstream suppliers (agents) to exert the principal's preferred level of food safety effort. We focus on cases in which food safety crises originate from defects in raw material provided by upstream firms to analytically show that high precision can substitute for high intensive contingent payments and vice-versa, and thus traceability is not an unequivocal signal for safer food. Contrary to previous results in the literature, we also show that government regulation based on mandatory traceability with sanctions may not necessarily lead to safer food, while increasing the food processor's costs. Finally, we use our analytical results to give managerial feedbacks for firms adopting and considering traceability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-603
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Moral hazard
  • Penalties
  • Rewards
  • Supply chain management
  • Traceability


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