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Too much of a good thing? Why altruism can harm the environment?

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  • Grolleau, Gilles
  • Ibanez, Lisette
  • Mzoughi, Naoufel

Abstract

Success of eco-labeling schemes, broadly defined, varies among products and across countries. Based on a simple theoretical framework, we show that the nature of environmental attributes among products (i.e., private versus public) and the consumer type (i.e., egoist versus altruist) shape the overall performance of such schemes. In addition, we demonstrate that altruistic consumers exhibiting a too high willingness to pay for the eco-labeled product can inadvertently prevent egoistic consumers from purchasing it, leading to a sub-optimal outcome in terms of environmental performance. Several policy and managerial implications are drawn.

Suggested Citation

  • Grolleau, Gilles & Ibanez, Lisette & Mzoughi, Naoufel, 2009. "Too much of a good thing? Why altruism can harm the environment?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 2145-2149, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:7:p:2145-2149
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    1. Teisl, Mario F. & Roe, Brian & Hicks, Robert L., 2002. "Can Eco-Labels Tune a Market? Evidence from Dolphin-Safe Labeling," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 339-359, May.
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    7. Bjorner, Thomas Bue & Hansen, L.G.Lars Garn & Russell, Clifford S., 2004. "Environmental labeling and consumers' choice--an empirical analysis of the effect of the Nordic Swan," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 411-434, May.
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    11. Ibanez, Lisette & Stenger, Anne, 2000. "Environment and Food Safety in Agriculture: Are Labels Efficient?," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(4), pages 452-464, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mohamed Akli Achabou & Adel Rink, 2014. "Barrières et motivations pour la consommation des produits de la mode éthique en France," Working Papers 2014-138, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
    2. Marija Bockarjova & Piet Rietveld & Erik T. Verhoef, 2012. "Composite Valuation of Immaterial Damage in Flooding: Value of Statistical Life, Value of Statistical Evacuation and Value of Statistical Injury," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-047/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. Fuerst, Franz & McAllister, Pat, 2011. "Eco-labeling in commercial office markets: Do LEED and Energy Star offices obtain multiple premiums?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(6), pages 1220-1230, April.
    4. Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline, 2016. "Multiple Standards: the Case of the French Building Industry," Policy Papers 2016.08, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

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