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Animal protection and information avoidance

In: Research Handbook on Nudges and Society


  • Richard Völker
  • Sven Grüner


Social scientists are increasingly interested in information avoidance (IA)—the active decision to refrain from information. Information avoidance has been largely investigated in areas where costs arise when people decide not to be informed, e.g., health checks or financial risks. The context of animal protection in livestock systems, however, has not been systematically studied before. We address information avoidance on violations of the Animal Protection Act in German livestock systems by conducting a web-based survey. Our focus lies on abdicating responsibility as a potential predictor of IA. We find both “sense of responsibility for animal protection” and the “consciousness of animal protection issues” to be negatively associated with IA. This contradicts previous studies (e.g., in medicine, food consumption) in which people avoid information that they expect to trigger negative emotions. Our results help to better understand possible market failures (e.g., asymmetric information, moral hazard) and indicate that providing people with more information may have the potential to further increase legal animal protection standards. We also contribute methodologically to the literature by measuring IA with the help of several items—as suggested in psychology but rarely applied in economics—to reduce measurement error.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Völker & Sven Grüner, 2023. "Animal protection and information avoidance," Chapters, in: Cass R. Sunstein & Lucia A. Reisch (ed.), Research Handbook on Nudges and Society, chapter 7, pages 109-128, Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:elg:eechap:22035_7

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    References listed on IDEAS

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