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An Economic Model of the Meat Paradox

Nina Hestermann, Yves Le Yaouanq () and Nicolas Treich ()
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Nina Hestermann: University of St Andrews

No 164, Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series from CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition

Abstract: Many individuals have empathetic feelings towards animals but frequently consume meat. We investigate this \"meat paradox\" using insights from the literature on motivated reasoning in moral dilemmata. We develop a model where individuals form self-serving beliefs about the suffering of animals caused by meat consumption in order to alleviate the guilt associated with their dietary choices. The model makes several specific predictions: in particular, it predicts a positive relationship between individuals\' taste for meat and their propensity to engage in self-deception, a high price elasticity of demand for meat, and a causal effect of prices and aggregate consumption on individual beliefs.

Keywords: motivated reasoning; moral dilemmata; self-deception; meat paradox; meat price-elasticity; animal welfare (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 D81 D83 D84 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-07-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mic
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