Romain Espinosa

Séminaires généraux
amse seminar

Romain Espinosa

Animals and social welfare

IBD Amphi

Îlot Bernard du Bois - Amphithéâtre

5-9 boulevard Maurice Bourdet
13001 Marseille

Lundi 11 octobre 2021| 11:30 - 12:45

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


Animal welfare has become a major concern in our societies, and a growing number of citizens call for political action to protect animals. However, economic theory and policy- makers lack the appropriate tools to assess the overall impact on social welfare of policies aimed to improve animal well-being. In this paper, I propose to fill this gap and present an easily-implementable theoretical model to evaluate the welfare impact of such policies. The model considers both human (animal-regarding) preferences and animal welfare. The gains in animal welfare are estimated by reviewing the violations of the animals’ fundamental freedoms that would be avoided thanks to the policy and are expressed in monetary equivalents using utility potential functions. I then apply this framework to twenty policy proposals discussed in France in 2020. The policies cover a large range of animal-welfare issues, including wild, domestic, farmed, or laboratory animals. I use a survey on a representative sample of the French population (N=1,485) to estimate the average willingness-to-pay (WTP) for each policy. I show that policies improving animal welfare benefit from a large popular support, and that French citizens report large WTPs for their implementation (between 15 and 39 euros per citizen per year). The results reveal a strong heterogeneity in the impact on animal welfare, ranging from 0.013 to 3,618 euros per citizen per year. Last, I show that the impacts on human and animal welfare do not necessarily correlate. It is therefore important to value animal welfare per se to determine the set of welfare-increasing policies.