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Pet Overpopulation: An Economic Analysis

  • Coate Stephen

    ()

    (Cornell University)

  • Knight Brian

    ()

    (Brown University)

The market for pets in the U.S. is important economically and socially. Pets differ from standard economic goods in significant ways, and the market displays a number of interesting problems, most notably pet overpopulation. Despite this, the market has been ignored by economists. This paper develops a dynamic model of the market for pets and uses it to study the problem of pet overpopulation. The positive predictions of the model square well with key features of the markets for dogs and cats in the U.S. The model is used to understand, from a welfare economic perspective, the sense in which there is overpopulation of pets and the underlying causes of the problem. The paper also employs the model to consider what policies might be implemented to deal with the problem. A calibrated example is developed to illustrate these corrective policies and quantify the potential welfare gains.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 10 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (December)
Pages: 1-59

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:106
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  1. Carlos, Ann M. & Lewis, Frank D., 1993. "Indians, the Beaver, and the Bay: The Economics of Depletion in the Lands of the Hudson's Bay Company, 1700–1763," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(03), pages 465-494, September.
  2. Endenburg, N. & Hart, H. 't & Bouw, J., 1994. "Motives for acquiring companion animals," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 191-206, March.
  3. Allen, Robert C. & Keay, Ian, 2004. "Saving the Whales: Lessons from the Extinction of the Eastern Arctic Bowhead," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(02), pages 400-432, June.
  4. M. Scott Taylor, 2011. "Buffalo Hunt: International Trade and the Virtual Extinction of the North American Bison," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3162-95, December.
  5. Rosen, S. & Murphy, K.M. & Scheinkman, J.A., 1993. "Cattle Cycles," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 93-2, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  6. Hirschman, Elizabeth C, 1994. " Consumers and Their Animal Companions," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 616-32, March.
  7. H. Scott Gordon, 1954. "The Economic Theory of a Common-Property Resource: The Fishery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 124.
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