Can sustainable consumption be learned? A model of cultural evolution
This paper shows how sustainable consumption patterns can spread within a population via processes of social learning even though a strong individual learning bias may favor environmentally harmful products. We present a model depicting how the biased transmission of different behaviors via individual and social learning influences agents' consumption behavior. The underlying learning biases can be traced back to evolved cognitive dispositions. Challenging the vision of a permanent transition toward sustainability, we argue that "green" consumption patterns are not self-reinforcing and cannot be "locked in" permanently.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M. & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Munda, Giuseppe, 2000. "Alternative models of individual behaviour and implications for environmental policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 43-61, January.
- Kenneth Arrow & Partha Dasgupta & Lawrence Goulder & Gretchen Daily & Paul Ehrlich & Geoffrey Heal & Simon Levin & Karl-Göran Mäler & Stephen Schneider & David Starrett & Brian Walker, 2004. "Are We Consuming Too Much?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 147-172, Summer.
- Christian Cordes, 2004.
"The Human Adaptation for Culture and its Behavioral Implications,"
Journal of Bioeconomics,
Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 143-163, May.
- C. Cordes, 2004. "The Human Adaptation for Culture and its Behavioral Implications," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2003-10, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
- Joseph E. Harrington & Jr., 1999. "Rigidity of Social Systems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 40-64, February.
- Dosi, Giovanni, 1993.
"Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change,"
Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 102-103, April.
- Dosi, Giovanni, 1982. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 147-162, June.
- Wagner, Jeffrey, 2006. "On the economics of sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(4), pages 659-664, June.
- Henrich, Joseph, 2004. "Cultural group selection, coevolutionary processes and large-scale cooperation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 3-35, January.
- Wilhelm Ruprecht, 2005. "The historical development of the consumption of sweeteners - a learning approach," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 247-272, 08.
- Windrum, Paul & Birchenhall, Chris, 1998. "Is product life cycle theory a special case? Dominant designs and the emergence of market niches through coevolutionary-learning," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 109-134, March.
- Boyd, Robert & Richerson, Peter J., 1980. "Sociobiology, culture and economic theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 97-121, June.
- H. Leibenstein, 1950. "Bandwagon, Snob, and Veblen Effects in the Theory of Consumers' Demand," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 183-207.
- repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226116136 is not listed on IDEAS
- Janssen, Marco A. & Jager, Wander, 2001. "Fashions, habits and changing preferences: Simulation of psychological factors affecting market dynamics," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 745-772, December.
- Ropke, Inge, 1999. "The dynamics of willingness to consume," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 399-420, March.
- Witt, Ulrich, 1992. "The Endogenous Public Choice Theorist," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 73(1), pages 117-29, January.
- Brennan, Timothy J., 2006. ""Green" preferences as regulatory policy instrument," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 144-154, January.
- Sartorius, Christian, 2006. "Second-order sustainability--conditions for the development of sustainable innovations in a dynamic environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 268-286, June.
- C. Cordes, 2003.
"Long-term Tendencies in Technological Creativity - A Preference-based Approach,"
Papers on Economics and Evolution
2003-02, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
- Christian Cordes, 2005. "Long-term tendencies in technological creativity - a preference-based approach," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 149-168, January.
- Eshel, Ilan & Samuelson, Larry & Shaked, Avner, 1998. "Altruists, Egoists, and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 157-79, March.
- World Commission on Environment and Development,, 1987. "Our Common Future," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780192820808, December.
- Jackson, Tim, 2002. "Evolutionary psychology in ecological economics: consilience, consumption and contentment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 289-303, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:67:y:2008:i:4:p:646-657. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.