Monetizing Animal Welfare Impacts for Benefit-Cost Analysis

Forthcoming in the Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis.

19 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2024

See all articles by Mark Budolfson

Mark Budolfson

University of Texas at Austin

Romain Espinosa

CIRED, International Research Center on Environment & Development, France

Bob Fischer

Texas State University

Nicolas Treich

University of Toulouse 1 - Toulouse School of Economics (TSE)

Date Written: March 30, 2024

Abstract

Animal welfare is often ignored in decision making, despite widespread agreement about its importance. This is partly because of a lack of quantitative methods to assess the impacts of policies on humans and nonhumans alike on a common scale. At the same time, recent work in economics, philosophy, and animal welfare science has made progress on the fundamental theoretical challenge of estimating the well-being potential of different species on a single scale. By combining these estimates of each species’ well-being potential with assessments of how various policies impact the quality of life for these species, along with the number of animals affected, we can arrive at a framework for estimating the impact of policies on animal health and well-being. This framework allows for a quantifiable comparison between policies affecting humans and animals. For instance, it enables us to compare human QALYs to animal QALYs (AQALYs) tailored to specific species. Hence, the intrinsic value of animal welfare impacts of policies can be monetized on the same scale as market and non-market impact for humans, facilitating benefit-cost analysis. Many challenges remain though, including issues of population ethics, political feasibility, and new complexities in addressing equity and uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

Budolfson, Mark and Espinosa, Romain and Fischer, Bob and Treich, Nicolas, Monetizing Animal Welfare Impacts for Benefit-Cost Analysis (March 30, 2024). Forthcoming in the Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4782473.

Mark Budolfson

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX Texas 78712
United States

Romain Espinosa (Contact Author)

CIRED, International Research Center on Environment & Development, France ( email )

Campus du Jardin Tropical
45 bis avenue de la Belle Gabrielle
F94736 Nogent sur Marne Cedex
France

HOME PAGE: http://https://romainespinosa.com

Bob Fischer

Texas State University ( email )

TX
United States

Nicolas Treich

University of Toulouse 1 - Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) ( email )

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