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Waste prevention and social preferences: the role of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations

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  • Cecere, Grazia
  • Mancinelli, Susanna
  • Mazzanti, Massimiliano

Abstract

It is only recently that EU policies have started defining targets for waste reduction despite waste prevention being at the top of the ‘waste hierarchy’. Against this backdrop, we examine whether individual behaviour towards waste reduction is more strongly driven by extrinsic motivations such as social norms, or intrinsic motivations, such as altruistic preferences. We exploit a new survey covering 22,759 individuals from EU27 countries. Our results suggest that individual preferences matter to move beyond an orientation based on recycling, to achieve a reduction of the sources of waste. Behaviour patterns which lead to waste reduction are seldom socially oriented, seldom exposed to peer pressure, and very reliant on purely ‘altruistic’ attitudes.

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  • Cecere, Grazia & Mancinelli, Susanna & Mazzanti, Massimiliano, 2014. "Waste prevention and social preferences: the role of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 163-176.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:107:y:2014:i:c:p:163-176
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.07.007
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intrinsic motivations; Extrinsic motivations; Social norms; Recycling; Waste reduction; Green preferences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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