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Pet Overpopulation: An Economic Analysis


  • Coate, Stephen

    (Cornell University)

  • Knight, Brian

    (Brown University)


This paper considers the problem of pet overpopulation. It develops a tractable dynamic model whose positive predictions square well with key features of the current U.S. market for pets. 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 welfare gains they produce.

Suggested Citation

  • Coate, Stephen & Knight, Brian, 2009. "Pet Overpopulation: An Economic Analysis," Working Papers 09-10, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:09-10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Rosen, Sherwin & Murphy, Kevin M & Scheinkman, Jose A, 1994. "Cattle Cycles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 468-492, June.
    3. 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 3162-3195, December.
    4. 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.
    5. Hirschman, Elizabeth C, 1994. " Consumers and Their Animal Companions," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(4), pages 616-632, March.
    6. 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.
    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 124-124.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics

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