Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 17, 2007

Animal House: Economics of Pets and the Household

Peter M Schwarz, Jennifer L Troyer and Jennifer Beck Walker

Abstract

We develop a model of the household that includes pets. We use over twenty years of data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey to consider pet ownership and expenditures for single and married households. Households with very young children are less likely to own pets and have lower pet expenditures, showing a substitute relationship. Households with older children are more likely to own pets, suggesting a complementary relationship. However, households with more children show reduced pet spending, evidence of a substitute relationship. Surprisingly, when the effect of income on pet ownership and pet spending are jointly considered in computing the income elasticities, women in married households have smaller income elasticities for pet expenditures than do men. This finding is the opposite of what has been found for women and men with regard to expenditures on children.

Published Online: 2007-7-17

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