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Dogs Have Masters, Cats Have Staff: Consumers' Psychological Ownership and Their Economic Valuation of Pets

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  • New York Institute of Technology, New York, NY

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Results of three experiments reveal that consumers place a higher economic valuation on dogs versus cats, as evidenced by willingness to pay more for life-saving surgery, medical expenses, and specialty pet products, as well as increased word-of-mouth about the pet. This effect is explained by consumers' enhanced psychological ownership of and resulting emotional attachment to the pet. The effect is reversed when a dog acts like a cat and a cat acts like a dog and is due to the perceived ability to control the animal's behavior rather than other attributes intrinsic to the pet. This research offers a first look at psychological ownership of a living creature and its effect on economic valuation. https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Yh0yXj-jRlTS
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