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The social economics of ethical consumption: Theoretical considerations and empirical evidence

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  • Martha A. Starr

Abstract

Recent years have seen rising discussion of ethical consumption as a means of stemming global warming, challenging unsavory business practices, and promoting other pro-social goals. This paper first lays out a conceptual framework for understanding the spread of ethical consumption, in which heterogeneous preferences and sensitivity to social norms feature centrally. It then presents empirical evidence from a well-known nationally representative survey on factors associated with tendencies to buy ethically. It is found that, ceteris paribus, people are more likely to buy ethically when others around them do too, consistent with a role of social norms in promoting ethical-consumption behaviors.

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File URL: http://w.american.edu/cas/economics/repec/amu/workingpapers/2009-07.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by American University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2009-07.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:2009-07

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Web page: http://www.american.edu/cas/economics/

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  1. Chris Arnot & Peter C. Boxall & Sean B. Cash, 2006. "Do Ethical Consumers Care About Price? A Revealed Preference Analysis of Fair Trade Coffee Purchases," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 54(4), pages 555-565, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Degli Antoni, Giacomo & Sacconi, Lorenzo, 2013. "Social responsibility, activism and boycotting in a firm–stakeholders network of games with players’ conformist preferences," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 216-226.
  2. Christopher Jeffords, 2011. "Preference-Directed Regulation When Ethical Environmental Policy Choices Are Formed With Limited Information," Working Papers 01, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.

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