Abstract for: Effect of Income Dynamics on Beef Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emission in China

Sustainable consumption is deemed a crucial goal for all countries in the world in our attempt to maintain the earth’s resources and to build a better world for our future generations. This paper uses system dynamics to explore different approaches to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by our consumption of beef, one of most carbon-intensive foods that are widely used in every household in many countries. China was chosen as a study context as this country accounts for almost one third of the worldwide meat consumption. Previous research has demonstrated that income is an important driver of household food consumption. However, very few studies have investigated the role of income dynamics in the process of building effective policies to reduce GHG emissions from beef consumption. Among different possible policies, this paper tests the most reasonable one which is to raise tax on beef. The results show that this policy leads to a higher beef price, causing the beef consumption and subsequently GHG emissions to decrease. Interestingly, the reduction in beef consumption is largest for the high-income group while the least effect is observed for the low-income group. This highlights the importance of the income factor that needs to be included in the policy making process. The paper provides several avenues for future research.