Information Avoidance and Moral Behavior: Experimental Evidence from Food Choices

80 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2021

See all articles by Raphael Epperson

Raphael Epperson

University of Innsbruck

Andreas Gerster

University of Mannheim

Date Written: October 8, 2021

Abstract

Access to morally relevant information could lead to behavioral change, but only if individuals attend to such information. We investigate this issue in the context of food choices, where the consumption of meat from intensive farming negatively affects animal welfare. Based on a pre-registered experiment, we find that about 30 percent of subjects avoid information on animals' living conditions in intensive farming. When receiving information, subjects significantly reduce their propensity to consume meat on average by about 12 percentage points in the laboratory and 6 to 9 percentage points in university canteens. We also find suggestive evidence that individuals who select out of information are particularly responsive to it. This selection pattern impedes the effectiveness of information provision, even when information is provided for free.

Keywords: Information demand, Information avoidance, Morality, Effect of information, Experiment, Meat consumption, Animal welfare

JEL Classification: C91, D12, D83

Suggested Citation

Epperson, Raphael and Gerster, Andreas, Information Avoidance and Moral Behavior: Experimental Evidence from Food Choices (October 8, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3938994 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3938994

Raphael Epperson (Contact Author)

University of Innsbruck ( email )

Universitätsstraße 15
Innsbruck, 6020
Austria

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/view/raphaelepperson

Andreas Gerster

University of Mannheim ( email )

L7, 3-5
Mannheim, 68131
Germany

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