Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Animal welfare efforts and farm economic outcomes: Evidence from Swedish beef production

Ahmed, Haseeb; Emanuelson, Ulf; Alvasen, Karin; Berg, Charlotte; Hultgren, Jan; Rocklinsberg, Helena; Hansson, Helena


We estimate the relationship between farm animal welfare (FAW) efforts taken by beef farmers and the economic performance of beef farms by using farm accounting data from the Swedish Farm Economic Survey matched with survey data on farm management practices. To this end, we perform a two-step analysis. First, an item response theory (IRT) model estimates the latent FAW effort on farms. FAW effort likely depends on a host of complementary FAW-improving strategies, and the IRT model combines the considered strategies into a unidimensional scale. We take this to represent on-farm FAW effort. Second, we use instrumental variable regressions to estimate the relationship between FAW effort and multiple measures of farm economic performance. We find that higher FAW effort scores have no effect on margins and costs. However, higher FAW effort scores are associated with lower farm sales. Findings suggest that policies (such as targeted label for high FAW) that increase farm revenue as well as incentivize the uptake of FAW-improvement practices may be able to compensate farmers for their FAW effort.


animal welfare; beef production; item response theory (IRT); Sweden

Published in

Agricultural and Resource Economics Review
2023, Volume: 52, number: 3, article number: PII S1068280523000084