Nicolas Treich

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Nicolas Treich

An economic model of the meat paradox
Joint with
Nina Hestermann, Yves Le Yaouanq

IBD Amphi

Îlot Bernard du Bois - Amphithéâtre

5-9 boulevard Maurice Bourdet
13001 Marseille

Monday, September 21 2020| 11:30am to 12:45pm

Ewen Gallic: ewen.gallic[at]
Avner Seror: avner.seror[at]


How can individuals care about animals and, at the same time, eat meat? We design a survey study to explore this "meat paradox''. Survey participants (N= 3054) underestimate farm animal suffering, and underestimate it more (i.e., are less realistic) when they eat more meat. Building on the literature on cognitive dissonance, we develop a model in which individuals form self-serving beliefs in order to reduce the moral guilt associated with meat consumption. The model characterizes how individuals' beliefs about animal welfare and their attitude towards information are affected by the economic environment (e.g., price of meat, salience of animal welfare), and by individuals' preferences (e.g., taste for meat, moral cost of guilt). Several empirical observations are consistent with our model.

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