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Some Economic Benefits and Costs of Vegetarianism

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Author Info

  • Lusk, Jayson L.
  • Norwood, F. Bailey

Abstract

It is now fashionable in many circles to advocate vegetarianism, and many activist groups are vocal in their aim to convert the human race to vegetarians. What would be the economic costs and benefits of a shift away from meat consumption? In this article we provide some partial answers to this question. In three separate analyses we show (i) that it is much more costly to produce energy and protein from animal-based sources than from some plant-based sources, (ii) that sizable demand shifts away from meat consumption would result in significantly lower corn prices and production, and (iii) that the average U.S. consumer places a higher value on having meat in his or her diet than having any other food group. This information should help move forward our understanding of the economics of vegetarianism and provide an objective stance from which to evaluate the claims being made by advocates of vegetarianism.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/55529
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association in its journal Agricultural and Resource Economics Review.

Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:ags:arerjl:55529

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Web page: http://www.narea.org/
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Related research

Keywords: cost of nutrients; crop production; dietary costs; livestock production; value of meat; vegan; vegetarian; Consumer/Household Economics; Demand and Price Analysis; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Livestock Production/Industries;

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  1. Tirtha Dhar & Jeremy D. Foltz, 2005. "Milk by Any Other Name … Consumer Benefits from Labeled Milk," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(1), pages 214-228.
  2. Hausman, J.A., 1994. "Valuation of New Goods Under Perfect and Imperfect Competition," Working papers 94-21, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Marsh, John M., 2007. "Cross-Sector Relationships Between the Corn Feed Grains and Livestock and Poultry Economies," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 32(01), April.
  4. Alston, Julian M., 1991. "Research Benefits in a Multimarket Setting: A Review," Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 59(01), April.
  5. Risku-Norja, Helmi & Maenpaa, Ilmo, 2007. "MFA model to assess economic and environmental consequences of food production and consumption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 700-711, February.
  6. Pollak, Robert A & Wales, Terrence J, 1969. "Estimation of the Linear Expenditure System," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 37(4), pages 611-28, October.
  7. Hausman, Jerry A & Leonard, Gregory K, 2002. "The Competitive Effects of a New Product Introduction: A Case Study," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 237-63, September.
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