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Determinants of pro-environmental consumption: The role of reference groups and routine behavior

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Author Info

  • Welsch, Heinz
  • Kühling, Jan

Abstract

This paper investigates the determinants of pro-environmental consumption, focusing on the role of reference groups and routine behavior. We study the factors that explain whether or not people have installed residential solar energy equipment or have subscribed to green-electricity programs, and the factors that influence the intensity of buying organic food. In addition to demographic characteristics and environmental attitudes, we consider the following categories of determinants: economic and cognitive factors (income, estimated price premium, level of information on environmentally-friendly goods); consumption patterns of reference persons; own consumption patterns in the past. Using a unique data set from a survey conducted in the region of Hanover, Germany, we find the following: (1) Economic and cognitive factors are significant covariates of all three kinds of pro-environmental consumption. Their influence is greatest in the case of green electricity. (2) Consumption patterns of reference persons are significant covariates of all three kinds of pro-environmental consumption. Their influence is greatest in the case of organic food. (3) The intensity of buying organic food is greater the longer people have been consumers of these goods.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 69 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (November)
Pages: 166-176

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2009:i:1:p:166-176

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

Related research

Keywords: Pro-environmental consumption Reference groups Routine behavior Solar energy Green electricity Organic food;

References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Chad M. Baum, 2013. "The Missing Link between Research and Reality: the significance of the relationship between retail format and organic food consumption," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-049, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  2. Heinz Welsch & Jan Kühling, 2010. "Is Pro-Environmental Consumption Utility-Maximizing? Evidence from Subjective Well-Being Data," Working Papers V-322-10, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2010.
  3. Herbes, Carsten & Ramme, Iris, 2014. "Online marketing of green electricity in Germany—A content analysis of providers’ websites," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 257-266.
  4. Astrid Matthey & Tim Kasser, 2013. "Values, food and bags: A study of consumption decisions in a laboratory supermarket," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-007, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  5. Dorothée Brécard, 2013. "Environmental Quality Competition and Taxation in the Presence of Green Network Effect Among Consumers," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 54(1), pages 1-19, January.
  6. Cordes, Christian & Schwesinger, Georg, 2014. "Technological diffusion and preference learning in the world of Homo sustinens: The challenges for politics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 191-200.
  7. So-Yun Kim & Jungsung Yeo & Sang Sohn & Jong-Youn Rha & Shinae Choi & A-young Choi & Suhyun Shin, 2012. "Toward a Composite Measure of Green Consumption: An Exploratory Study Using a Korean Sample," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 199-214, June.
  8. Brouhle, Keith & Khanna, Madhu, 2012. "Determinants of participation versus consumption in the Nordic Swan eco-labeled market," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 142-151.
  9. repec:old:wpaper:322 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Genovaitė Liobikienė & Justina Mandravickaitė, 2013. "Convergence of new members of the EU: changes in household consumption expenditure structure regarding environmental impact during the prosperous period," Environment, Development and Sustainability, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 407-427, April.
  11. Sánchez-Braza, Antonio & Pablo-Romero, María del P., 2014. "Evaluation of property tax bonus to promote solar thermal systems in Andalusia (Spain)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 832-843.
  12. Shigeru Matsumoto, 2014. "The Opportunity Cost of Pro-Environmental Activities: Spending Time to Promote the Environment," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 119-130, March.
  13. Comin, Diego & Rode, Johannes, 2013. "From Green Users to Green Voters," CEPR Discussion Papers 9573, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Shigeru Matsumoto, 2014. "Spouses’ time allocation to pro-environmental activities: who is saving the environment at home?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 159-176, March.

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