Document type : interview article published in La Recherche
Author: Romain Espinosa, interviewed by Axelle Playoust-Braure
Preview: Despite a strong social consensus on the importance of animal welfare, animals have never been so exploited. In the field of economics, they are the forgotten ones, says Romain Espinosa, researcher in economics at the CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research). He has devoted a book to this "paradox of animal exploitation": Comment sauver les animaux ? Une économie de la condition animale, published by PUF. When it came out, he gave an interview to La Recherche.
...economists are like all social scientists: they are the mirror of their times. They have the same blind spots as the rest of society and therefore, until very recently, did not take animals into account in their thinking. This is now changing. Three or four years ago, when I first started work on this subject, there were very few of us interested in it. Nowadays, we are no longer cut off: research networks have been created and, most importantly, research papers on animals are beginning to be published in top economic journals. Economics is a very pyramidal discipline: what comes from the top of the pyramid will be widely read and have a lot of influence. To give a few examples, Marc Fleurbaey, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, published an article on animal welfare in 2020 in one of the world's leading journals, the American Economic Journal. Olof Johansson-Stenman, an economist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and currently in the top 5% of the most cited economists, suggests in his work that animals shouls be included in our social welfare function. With Nicolas Treich, director of research in economics at INRAE, we published an article on animalist NGOs in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, a world-leading journal on the subject. Many other researchers working on animal welfare are achieving this level of publication: this is a very good sign. To claim from this that animal welfare is now an obvious topic for all economists to talk about, no, we are clearly not there yet. But there is a dynamic at work. ...
Interview leading to an article published in Sciences et Avenir on January 27, 2021: Les économistes s’intéressent au bien-être animal