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Animal welfare and human ethics: A personality study


  • Albrecht, Konstanze
  • Krämer, Florentin
  • Szech, Nora


We elicit concern for animal welfare in an incentivized, direct and real setup that allows us to separate genuine interest in animal welfare from confounding factors like advertisement, replacement arguments or image concerns. Subjects choose between intensive farming and organic living conditions for a laying hen. Opting for better living conditions is costly, but guarantees better food, daylight, and more space to the hen. Hence subjects have to trade off a selfish benefit (money) against the welfare of a hen. Our data shed light on a long-standing philosophical debate about the relationship between animal welfare and human ethics. We confirm that subjects with higher interests in the hen's well-being exhibit higher moral standards towards humans. Supporters of intensive farming are significantly less prosocial and open-minded, and more Machiavellian than others.

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  • Albrecht, Konstanze & Krämer, Florentin & Szech, Nora, 2017. "Animal welfare and human ethics: A personality study," Working Paper Series in Economics 103, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:kitwps:103

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Zarek C. Brot-Goldberg & Amitabh Chandra & Benjamin R. Handel & Jonathan T. Kolstad, 2017. "What does a Deductible Do? The Impact of Cost-Sharing on Health Care Prices, Quantities, and Spending Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(3), pages 1261-1318.
    2. Chandra, Amitabh & Gruber, Jonathan & McKnight, Robin, 2014. "The impact of patient cost-sharing on low-income populations: Evidence from Massachusetts," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 57-66.
    3. Fels, Markus, 2015. "Mental accounting, access motives, and overinsurance," Working Paper Series in Economics 69, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
    4. Peele, Pamela B., 1993. "Evaluating welfare losses in the health care market," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 205-208, July.
    5. Johnson, Eric J & Hershey, John & Meszaros, Jacqueline & Kunreuther, Howard, 1993. "Framing, Probability Distortions, and Insurance Decisions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 35-51, August.
    6. Pauly, Mark V. & Blavin, Fredric E., 2008. "Moral hazard in insurance, value-based cost sharing, and the benefits of blissful ignorance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1407-1417, December.
    7. Zweifel, Peter, 1987. "Bonus systems in health insurance: a microeconomic analysis," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 273-288, April.
    8. Rubinstein, Ariel & Yaari, Menahem E., 1983. "Repeated insurance contracts and moral hazard," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 74-97, June.
    9. Nyman, John A., 1999. "The value of health insurance: the access motive," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-152, April.
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    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other

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