Lecture by Andreas Gerster (University of Mannheim)
Title: Information Avoidance and Moral Behavior: Experimental Evidence from Food Choices
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.