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Speciesism, altruism and the economics of animal welfare


  • Jayson L. Lusk
  • F. Bailey Norwood


Economists have long relied on utilitarian principles in carrying out cost–benefit analysis, but such utilitarianism is typically limited to the well-being of humans. Some prominent philosophers have argued such an approach is unjustifiably speciesist, but what are the consequences of including animal well-being in cost–benefit analysis? This paper considers this question in the context of human altruism towards animals in which people's concerns for the well-being of animals create an externality. After uncovering some conceptual challenges involved in carrying out cost–benefit analysis on animal welfare policies, we report the results of a novel experiment used to measure the public-good value of farm animal welfare, and show that although the average value in our sample is quite large, the result is due to the preferences of only a small subset of the subjects. , Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Jayson L. Lusk & F. Bailey Norwood, 2012. "Speciesism, altruism and the economics of animal welfare," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 39(2), pages 189-212, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:erevae:v:39:y:2012:i:2:p:189-212

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    Cited by:

    1. Moisescu Ovidiu-Ioan, 2015. "Demographics-based differences in the relationship between perceived CSR and customer loyalty in the dairy products market," Management & Marketing, De Gruyter Open, vol. 10(2), pages 118-131, September.

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