Economic Perspective on the Value of Cats and Dogs

In: Society & Animals
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  • 1 Department of Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 2 Department of Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract

Although various benefits of cats and dogs have been extensively studied, their fundamental economic value is poorly understood. Economic values are, in contrast to monetary values, determined subjectively and guide individuals in their decisions. This study presents a conceptual economic model of the value of cats and dogs which provides a basis for future research. Benefits of cats and dogs identified in the literature are categorized in relation to the model. The multidimensional value of these nonhuman animals includes different use and non-use values, for caretakers and other humans. Data from an online survey on the salience (importance of attributes in memory) of cats and dogs in Sweden provide support for the proposed model. It is argued that the subjective well-being approach developed in psychology provides a good starting point for estimating many of the economic values of these animals, but that different types of values may require different approaches.

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