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Too much of a good thing? Why altruism can harm the environment?

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Author Info

  • Grolleau, Gilles
  • Ibanez, Lisette
  • Mzoughi, Naoufel

Abstract

Success of eco-labeling schemes, broadly defined, varies among products and across countries. Based on a simple theoretical framework, we show that the nature of environmental attributes among products (i.e., private versus public) and the consumer type (i.e., egoist versus altruist) shape the overall performance of such schemes. In addition, we demonstrate that altruistic consumers exhibiting a too high willingness to pay for the eco-labeled product can inadvertently prevent egoistic consumers from purchasing it, leading to a sub-optimal outcome in terms of environmental performance. Several policy and managerial implications are drawn.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 68 (2009)
Issue (Month): 7 (May)
Pages: 2145-2149

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:7:p:2145-2149

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

Related research

Keywords: Altruism Eco-labels Egoism Public goods;

References

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Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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  1. Thomas Bue Bjorner & Lars Garn Hansen & Clifford S. Russell, 2002. "Environmental Labelling and Consumer's Choice - An Empirical Analysis of the Effect of the Nordic Swan," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0203, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  2. Ibanez, Lisette & Stenger, Anne, 2000. "Environment and Food Safety in Agriculture: Are Labels Efficient?," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(4), pages 452-64, December.
  3. Caswell, Julie A. & Mojduszka, Eliza M., 1996. "Using Informational Labeling To Influence The Market For Quality In Food Products," Working Papers 25989, Regional Research Project NE-165 Private Strategies, Public Policies, and Food System Performance.
  4. Teisl, Mario F. & Roe, Brian & Hicks, Robert L., 2002. "Can Eco-Labels Tune a Market? Evidence from Dolphin-Safe Labeling," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 339-359, May.
  5. Grolleau, Gilles & Caswell, Julie A., 2006. "Interaction Between Food Attributes in Markets: The Case of Environmental Labeling," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 31(03), December.
  6. Matthew J. Kotchen, 2006. "Green Markets and Private Provision of Public Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 816-845, August.
  7. Nyborg, Karine, 2000. "Homo Economicus and Homo Politicus: interpretation and aggregation of environmental values," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 305-322, July.
  8. Matthew J. Kotchen, 2003. "Impure Public Goods and the Comparative Statics of Environmentally Friendly Consumption," Department of Economics Working Papers 2003-06, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  9. Loureiro, Maria L. & Lotade, Justus, 2005. "Do fair trade and eco-labels in coffee wake up the consumer conscience?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 129-138, April.
  10. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  11. Roe, Brian E. & Teisl, Mario F., 1998. "The Economics Of Labeling: An Overview Of Issues For Health And Environmental Disclosure," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 27(2), October.
  12. Jayson Lusk & Tomas Nilsson & Ken Foster, 2007. "Public Preferences and Private Choices: Effect of Altruism and Free Riding on Demand for Environmentally Certified Pork," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 36(4), pages 499-521, April.
  13. Lisette Ibanez & Gilles Grolleau, 2008. "Can Ecolabeling Schemes Preserve the Environment?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(2), pages 233-249, June.
  14. McCluskey, Jill J., 2000. "A Game Theoretic Approach To Organic Foods: An Analysis Of Asymmetric Information And Policy," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 29(1), April.
  15. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  16. Sara J. Solnick & David Hemenway, 2005. "Are Positional Concerns Stronger in Some Domains than in Others?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 147-151, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Marija Bockarjova & Piet Rietveld & Erik T. Verhoef, 2012. "Composite Valuation of Immaterial Damage in Flooding: Value of Statistical Life, Value of Statistical Evacuation and Value of Statistical Injury," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-047/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Marija Bockarjova & Piet Rietveld & Erik T. Verhoef, 2012. "Composite Valuation of Immaterial Damage in Flooding: Value of Statistical Life, Value of Statistical Evacuation and Value of Statistical Injury," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-047/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Mohamed Akli Achabou & Adel Rink, 2014. "Barrières et motivations pour la consommation des produits de la mode éthique en France," Working Papers 2014-138, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
  4. Fuerst, Franz & McAllister, Pat, 2011. "Eco-labeling in commercial office markets: Do LEED and Energy Star offices obtain multiple premiums?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(6), pages 1220-1230, April.

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