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Appeals to social norms as policy instruments to address consumption externalities

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  • Kallbekken, Steffen
  • Westskog, Hege
  • Mideksa, Torben K.

Abstract

We consider appeals to social norms as a policy instrument to address consumption externalities. We explore whether appeals to social norms can be an efficient policy instrument and compare the efficiency of such appeals to the efficiency of taxation in addressing consumption externalities. We find that when the existing norm helps to shift consumption towards the socially optimal level of consumption, taxation welfare dominates appeals to social norms as a policy tool. While previous studies have found that economic instruments are superior to information in other contexts, we arrive at a different conclusion for situations where the norm shifts behavior away from what is socially optimal. In such cases appeals to social norms can be a better policy instrument than taxation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 39 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 447-454

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:39:y:2010:i:4:p:447-454

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

Related research

Keywords: Social norms Policy instruments Externality;

References

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  10. Gneezy, Uri & Rustichini, Aldo, 2000. "A Fine is a Price," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, January.
  11. Noah J. Goldstein & Robert B. Cialdini & Vladas Griskevicius, 2008. "A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(3), pages 472-482, 03.
  12. Brekke, Kjell Arne & Kverndokk, Snorre & Nyborg, Karine, 2003. "An economic model of moral motivation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1967-1983, September.
  13. Daugbjerg, Carsten & Svendsen, Gert Tinggaard, 2001. "Designing green taxes in a political context: From optimal to feasible environmental regulation," Working Papers 01-17, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  14. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
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  16. H. Peyton Young, 2007. "Social Norms," Economics Series Working Papers 307, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Geir Asheim, 2010. "Strategic Use of Environmental Information," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(2), pages 207-216, June.
  2. Panzone, Luca A. & Wossink, Ada & Southerton, Dale, 2013. "The design of an environmental index of sustainable food consumption: A pilot study using supermarket data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 44-55.
  3. Håkon Sælen & Hege Westskog & Einar Strumse, 2012. "Values, attitudes, and pro-environmental behaviours – is there a link? Results from a Norwegian survey," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(1), pages 486-493.
  4. Joachim Fuenfgelt & Stefan Baumgaertner, 2012. "Regulation of morally responsible agents with motivation crowding," Working Paper Series in Economics 241, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.

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