An economic approach to the "meat paradox"



An economic approach to the "meat paradox"

Nicolas Treich

Nicolas is research director at INRA at Toulouse School of Economics, France. His research concerns risk and decision theory, environmental economics, benefit-cost analysis or more recently the economics of animal welfare.

Date: 16 May 2019, 17:00

Location: Oxford Martin School, OX1 3BD

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Meat has been part of the diet of most human societies and is still omnipresent in human culture. Yet, the consumption of meat requires animals to be killed and can be viewed as a morally problematic activity. Most people are emotionally disturbed by the suffering of animals associated with modern industrial farming practices. Individuals who care about the well-being of animals face a trade-off in their consumption choice between the utility derived from eating meat and the psychological disutility implied by their awareness of the suffering inflicted on farm animals.

Building on the literature in psychology on the "meat paradox", Nicolas Treich will set out an economic framework to examine the relationship between individuals’ consumption of meat and their perception of the well-being of animals raised for consumption. This enables predictions on the link between consumers’ preferences and beliefs, as well as on consumers’ reaction to exogenous parameters, such as the price of meat, or the salience of animal welfare through media coverage, and its implications for regulatory practices.