Espinosa, Romain and Treich, Nicolas (2020) Moderate vs. Radical NGOs. TSE Working Paper, n. 20-1159, Toulouse

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NGOs often vary in terms of how radical they are. In this paper, we explore the
effectiveness of NGO discourses in bringing about social change. We focus on animal
advocacy: welfarist NGOs primarily seek to improve the conditions in which animals
are raised and reduce meat consumption, while abolitionist NGOs categorically reject
animal use and call for a vegan society. We design an experiment to study the
respective impact of welfarist and abolitionist discourses on participants’ beliefs regarding
pro-meat justifications and their actions, namely their propensity to engage in
the short-run in animal welfare (charity donation, petition against intensive farming)
and plant-based diets (subscription to a newsletter promoting plant-based diets, petition
supporting vegetarian meals). We first show that both welfarist and abolitionist
discourses significantly undermine participants’ pro-meat justifications. Second, the
welfarist discourse does not significantly affect participants’ actions, while we detect a
potential backlash effect of the abolitionist discourse. We show that the NGOs’ positive
standard effect on actions through the change in beliefs is outweighed by a negative
behavioral response to the discourses (reactance effect). Last, greater public-good contributions
are associated with greater engagement in animal welfare in the presence of
an NGO discourse.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Language: English
Date: November 2020
Place of Publication: Toulouse
Uncontrolled Keywords: moderate, radical, NGO, welfarist, abolitionist, animal-welfare, plant-based, diets, behavioral economics, experimental economics, reactance.
JEL Classification: C91 - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
D71 - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
Q18 - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
Q5 - Environmental Economics
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Institution: Université Toulouse 1 Capitole
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2020 10:39
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2021 13:38
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