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Having a Beef with Meat Taxes: Toward Optimal Meat Consumption

New AAEA member research released in AJAE

In 2017, the U.S. meat industry produced more than 100 billion pounds of meat, according to The Meat Institute. On average, individual U.S. meat consumers consumed 220 lbs of meat in the same year as stated in Global Agriculture. In terms of consumers’ reducing their meat consumption, they are much more responsive to a meat tax than educational programs.

In a new article released in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics (AJAE), authors Bhagyashree Katare and Michael Wetzstein from Purdue University along with other co-authors, Jonthan Lawing, Timothy Park, Holly Wang, and Na Hao look into optimal meat consumption.

Authors say, “Society’s possible interest in internalizing the negative external costs of meat consumption warrants consideration of a meat tax associated with green-label education. Such government mechanisms should consider their effect on prosocial behavior, external costs of meat replacement, benefits of research on reducing meat external costs, and administration/education costs.”

If you are interested in reading the article “Toward optimal meat consumption” or setting up an interview with Katare or Wetzstein, please contact Allison Scheetz in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Scheetz
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190