Willingness to pay and moral stance: The case of farm animal welfare in Germany

| Type artikkel: Publisert studie
This study examines the impact of ethical attitude on the willingness to pay for farm animal welfare improvement in Germany. Little is known about the pluralism of moral attitudes that may exist behind farm animal welfare issues and its relationship to customers' willingness to pay for it. Via a large survey (n = 1334) we are able to identify different moral dimensions by employing validated scales.


Ulrich J. Frey and Frauke Pirscher



We find utilitarian alongside deontological attitudes as well as a mixture of both. Thus, presupposing a standard moral attitude is too simple. This has implications for decision-making on markets, since the implicit normative assumptions of a utilitarian position in economics has to be critically assessed. Furthermore, we asked for the willingness to pay for various aspects of farm animal welfare improvement. We find significant positive correlations between willingness to pay and environmental concern, altruism and less apathy. Measured in Euro, a higher environmental concern has the strongest effect on WTP for all five moral scales. Outliers with higher bids are willing to pay almost five times for any aspect of farm animal welfare than the rest of the sample. A more detailed analysis of outliers demonstrates that market-based approaches have restrictions in capturing certain moral values. Moreover, the motivations behind zero bids reveal that moral concerns outweigh indifference towards animal welfare by far. This has implications how policy can be designed to serve people’s demand for higher animal welfare standards. Two other findings are of interest. First, we find a very high number of people assigning an intrinsic value to animals (90%). Second, zero bids and outlier treatment in WTP-studies deserves more careful consideration, since WTP-estimates are easily skewed by excluding these groups.


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