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Reputation and household recycling practices: Field experiments in Costa Rica

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  • Alpízar, F.
  • Gsottbauer, E.

Abstract

Pro-environmental behavior is the willingness to cooperate and contribute to environmental public goods. A good understanding of why individuals undertake pro-environmental actions is important in order to construct policies that are aligned with preferences and actual behavioral patterns, such as concern for social esteem and reputation. In this paper, we present the results of a framed field experiment that explores reputation formation as a driver in support of household recycling practices. We use a “shame” and a “pride” treatment to test which is more effective, if at all, in increasing recycling effort. We find that reputational concerns indeed play a role in shaping individual pro-environmental behavior. Surprisingly, subjects cooperate more if the situation is framed as avoiding shame (bad reputation) rather than as acquiring pride and gratitude (good reputation). The actual experiment is based on a real recycling program, with participants who are heads of urban households in Costa Rica.

Suggested Citation

  • Alpízar, F. & Gsottbauer, E., 2015. "Reputation and household recycling practices: Field experiments in Costa Rica," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 366-375.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:120:y:2015:i:c:p:366-375
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.04.003
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecolec:v:157:y:2019:i:c:p:394-401 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin & Alhusen, Harm, 2018. "On the determinants of pro-environmental behavior: A guide for further investigations," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 350, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    3. FIORILLO, Damiano & SENATORE, Luigi, 2016. "Self Image and Environmental Attitude and Behavior," CELPE Discussion Papers 140, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    4. repec:eee:ecolec:v:149:y:2018:i:c:p:129-139 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Arı, Erkan & Yılmaz, Veysel, 2016. "A proposed structural model for housewives' recycling behavior: A case study from Turkey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 132-142.

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    Keywords

    Emotions; Pride; Public goods game; Recycling; Shame;

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