A few months ago, I posted a blog post about the carbon footprint of pets. I see that my post must have started a new literature. Here is a new paper titled “Pet Overpopulation: An Economic Analysis”. Perhaps blogging and academic writing are like peanut butter and jelly?
Now, I have wondered about how close substitutes are pets and children but I haven’t been smart enough to figure out a way to measure this. We would need to observe whether people substitute from having kids to owning pets as the full Becker price of kids goes up. (I’m half kidding).
Pet Overpopulation: An Economic Analysis
Stephen Coate, Cornell University
Brian Knight, Brown University
A BEJEAP Advances1 article.
The market for pets in the U.S. is important economically and socially. Pets differ from standard economic goods in significant ways, and the market displays a number of interesting problems, most notably pet overpopulation. Despite this, the market has been ignored by economists. This paper develops a dynamic model of the market for pets and uses it to study the problem of pet overpopulation. The positive predictions of the model square well with key features of the markets for dogs and cats in the U.S. 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 potential welfare gains.
Submitted: March 19, 2010 · Accepted: December 3, 2010 · Published: December 9, 2010
Coate, Stephen and Knight, Brian (2010) “Pet Overpopulation: An Economic Analysis,” The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy: Vol. 10 : Iss. 1 (Advances), Article 106.