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A fish

I bought a fish in the Zhonguancun shopping plaza – a Siamese fighting fish – with a satchel of food included for 20 RMB – that’s about $3-50. In the shop it was sitting in a bowl of water about half a coffee cup size and I sympathised with its dilemma. The world is not […]

Cats & the environment

It is a true New York Times story that involves issues of conservation substance. In Texas, a Jim Stevenson shot a feral cat that was attacking an endangered bird species – the Piping plover. Feral cats are among the most destructive animals in the natural environment. Stevenson was put on trial with some competing groups […]


As I have suggested before it is reasonable to suppose that economists should view animals kept as pets as an economically important part of the family unit. There are health, companionship and perhaps even biophilia benefits from owning pets. I have had pets myself in the past (dogs, cats, fish) but don’t do so now […]

Pets as part of the household

I recently posted on some descriptive aspects of pet ownership in the US – the claim was that $41 billion was now spent of pets. A study by Schwartz, Troyer and Walker (STW) looks at more economic, analytical aspects of the issue – they seek to embed pets in a theory of the household that […]

The pet economy & biophilia

I could barely believe parts of this story. According to this week’s Business Week Americans spend $41 billion on their pets which is more than the GDP of all but 64 countries. This is mainly spent on 88 million cats and 75 million dogs. Pets increasingly substitute for human companionship – 42% of dogs now […]