New research published on China’s market for rhino horn


In response to a relatively thin body of economic information about rhino horn markets in China, a a behavioral economic study was designed and implemented in 2014 in collaboration with economists from academic and research institutions; shedding new light on China’s market for illicit rhino horn.

Conducted in five cities in eastern and southern China, the survey was designed to assess key purchasing drivers of potential demand for rhino horn products, measure willingness to pay for these products, evaluate whether there would be a destigmatisation effect from legalizing rhino horn, and to approximate a sound estimate of current total demand for rhino horn in China and potentially other southeast Asian countries. 

The result, the “”Rhino Rage: What is driving illegal consumer demand for rhino horn?” by principal investigator Alex Kennaugh, is the first of its kind in its research methodology on the subject of rhino horn, and the first rhino horn behavioral economic study conducted in China since the 1980s. Unlike previous analysis available—either for or against an international commercial legal trade—some of the data collected are statistically significant.

Its analysis points to some key findings. Demand for rhino horn has differentiated into at least two key markets:  medicine and luxury goods, Potential consumers behave differently in each market and exhibit regional differences, and the illegal status of the rhino horn trade and awareness of conservation issues dampen demand behaviour in both product markets.

Kennaugh intends to publish a peer-reviewed article in 2017 and the protocols, methodology and full data set are available on request for non-commercial uses. It is hoped that information from the survey could inform both the design of future research, the design of demand reduction and management strategies, and help draw a more comprehensive picture of potential consumer demand in Asia for rhino horn. 

You can read and download the full report, by clicking the link below.

Rhino rage report by Alex Kennaugh, Dec 2016

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