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Environmentally Unfriendly Consumption Behaviour: Theoretical and Empirical Evidence from Private Motorists in Mexico City


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  • Alva González, Miguel Ángel


This dissertation treats the topic of environmentally unfriendly consumption behaviour in relation to air pollution and the use of automobiles in Mexico City by analyzing three related aspects: i) relevant factors of driving patterns, ii) differences in the extent of pollution arising from environmentally friendlier vehicle use, and iii) the attitude of private motorists regarding the adoption of environmentally friendlier behaviour. The research includes not only economic but also social considerations. The specific objectives are to a) determine driving patterns specific to the Distrito Federal (core of the Mexico City Metropolitan Area), b) assess the behaviour of the driver regarding vehicle use and c) assess the conditions under which a switch to environmentally friendly alternatives related automobile use is possible. These objectives are analyzed using the approach of the Lancaster model of consumer behaviour with quantitative (the Distrito Federal’s Vehicle Verification Program 2003-2004 information) and qualitative (a Mexico City’s 2006 survey about consumers’ car preferences) data in three regression models: linear, logit and multinomial logit. The findings of the research are compared with the results of other related studies and with programs that have been implemented to date. The study demonstrates that several structural and behavioural factors determine the level of impact that private motorists have on urban air pollution. Also, it is demonstrated that the relation that motorists have with their vehicles revolves around function and use rather than simple ownership. In this sense, the more important results are that factors like income or purchase price do not explain automobile use; attitudes or personal attributes explain the behaviour much better than purely economic factors or the vehicle itself. One main conclusion is that the program implemented thus far to control vehicle use and alleviate air pollution in Mexico City has actually contributed to increased automobile use. In general, the approach applied demonstrates that sociological context is an intrinsic part of motorist choices regarding vehicle use, and that perceptions and attitudes influence motorists decisions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 18019.

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Date of creation: 14 Apr 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:18019

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Keywords: urban transport; sustainable development; transportation; megacities; consumption behaviour; Mexico; Latin America; automobiles; environmental economics; Lancaster model; environmentally friendly consumption; use of cars; air pollution; developing cities; environmental policy;

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  1. Golob, Thomas F. & McNally, Michael G., 1997. "A Model of Activity Participation Between Household Heads," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt4dj8f1gg, University of California Transportation Center.
  2. Golob, Thomas F. & Kim, Seyoung & Ren, Weiping, 1996. "How Households Use Different Types of Vehicles: A Structural Driver Allocation and Usage Model," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt6xx6j51x, University of California Transportation Center.
  3. O'Hara, Sabine U. & Stagl, Sigrid, 2002. "Endogenous preferences and sustainable development," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 511-527.
  4. Eskeland, Gunnar S & Feyzioglu, Tarhan, 1997. "Rationing Can Backfire: The "Day without a Car" in Mexico City," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 11(3), pages 383-408, September.
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  7. Niemeyer, S. J. & Tisdell, J. G., 1998. "Consumer-Based Carbon Reduction Incentives: A Proposed Mixed Incentive Scheme for Reducing CO2 Emissions from Transport," Economic Analysis and Policy (EAP), Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), School of Economics and Finance, vol. 28(1), pages 53-67, March.
  8. Cesar, Herman & Borja-Aburto, Victor H. & Dorland, Kees & Munoz Cruz, Roberto & Brander, Luke & Cropper, Maureen & Gonzalez Marinez, Ana Citlalic & Olaiz-Fernandez, Gustavo & Martinez Bolivar, Ana Pat, 2002. "Improving air quality in metropolitan Mexico City : an economic valuation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2785, The World Bank.
  9. Klaus Conrad, 2003. "Price Competition and Product Differentiation when Consumers Care for the Environment," Working Papers, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei 2003.66, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  10. Golob, Thomas F. & Kim, Seyoung & Ren, Weiping, 1996. "How households use different types of vehicles: A structural driver allocation and usage model," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 103-118, March.
  11. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
  12. HAYNES Goddard, 1997. "Using Tradeable Permits to Achieve Sustainability in the World's Large Cities: Policy Design Issues and Efficiency Conditions for Controlling Vehicle Emissions, Congestion and Urban Decentralization w," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(1), pages 63-99, July.
  13. DiClemente, Diane F. & Hantula, Donald A., 2003. "Applied behavioral economics and consumer choice," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 589-602, October.
  14. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Jeroen van den Bergh, 2004. "A Micro-Econometric Analysis of Determinants of Unsustainable Consumption in The Netherlands," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 27(4), pages 367-389, April.
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