Hestermann, Nina, Le Yaouanq, Yves and Treich, Nicolas (2020) An economic model of the meat paradox. European Economic Review, vol.129 (103569).

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Identification Number : 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2020.103569


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 predicts that the price of meat has a causal effect on individuals’ beliefs: high prices foster realism by lowering the returns to self-deception, which magnify the price elasticity of meat consumption. The model also predicts a positive relationship between individuals’ taste for meat and their propensity to engage in self-deception, a causal effect of aggregate consumption on individual beliefs, and the coexistence of equilibria of “collective realism” and “collective denial”.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: October 2020
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Meat paradox, Self-deception, Price elasticity, Moral wiggle room
JEL Classification: D72 - Economic Models of Political Processes - Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
D81 - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
D83 - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief
D84 - Expectations; Speculations
Z13 - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2020 07:44
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2021 12:38
OAI Identifier: oai:tse-fr.eu:124680
URI: https://publications.ut-capitole.fr/id/eprint/41789

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