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What time to adapt? The role of discretionary time in sustaining the climate change value–action gap

Listed author(s):
  • Chai, Andreas
  • Bradley, Graham
  • Lo, Alex
  • Reser, Joseph

The considerable gap between the individuals level of concern about climate change and the degree to which they act on these concerns is a major impediment to achieving more sustainable consumption patterns. We empirically investigate how the amount of discretionary time that individuals have at their disposal influences both what type of sustainable consumption practices they adopt and the size of this value–action gap. We contend that discretionary time has a twofold effect. Given fixed preferences, time-poor individuals tend to satisfy their preferences by adopting sustainable consumption practices that require relatively less time. Moreover, a lack of discretionary time also inhibits agents from developing preferences that actually reflect their underlying environmental concerns. Our findings support both of these hypotheses and suggest that increasing discretionary time is associated with significant reductions in the value–action gap. This suggest that policies which increase discretionary time, such as measures to improve the work–life balance, may thus help in fostering the emergence of pro-environmental preferences among consumers in the long run.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800915001718
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 116 (2015)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 95-107

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:116:y:2015:i:c:p:95-107
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.04.013
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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