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I don't want to hear about it: Rational ignorance among duty-oriented consumers

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  • Nyborg, Karine

Abstract

Individuals with a preference for keeping moral obligations may dislike learning that voluntary contributions are socially valuable: such information can trigger unpleasant feelings of cognitive dissonance. I show that if the initial belief about the social value of contributions is too low to merit a moral responsibility to contribute, duty-oriented consumers are willing to pay to avoid information. Information campaigns can make such consumers contribute by providing them with unwanted information.

Suggested Citation

  • Nyborg, Karine, 2011. "I don't want to hear about it: Rational ignorance among duty-oriented consumers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 263-274, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:79:y:2011:i:3:p:263-274
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kverndokk, Snorre & Rose, Adam, 2008. "Equity and Justice in Global Warming Policy," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 2(2), pages 135-176, October.
    2. Grossman, Zachary & van der Weele, Joël, 2013. "Self-Image and Strategic Ignorance in Moral Dilemmas," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0bp6z29t, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    3. Heinz Welsch & Jan Kühling, 2016. "Green status seeking and endogenous reference standards," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 18(4), pages 625-643, October.
    4. Felgendreher, Simon, 2018. "Do consumers choose to stay ignorant? The role of information in the purchase of ethically certified products," Working Papers in Economics 717, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    5. Mikołaj Czajkowski & Nick Hanley & Karine Nyborg, 2014. "Social norms, morals and self-interest as determinants of pro-environment behaviour," Working Papers 2014-17, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    6. Russell Golman & David Hagmann & George Loewenstein, 2017. "Information Avoidance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(1), pages 96-135, March.
    7. Braaten, Ragnhild Haugli, 2014. "Testing deontological warm glow motivation for carbon abatements," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 96-109.
    8. Mikolaj Czajkowski & Katarzyna Zagórska & Nick Hanley, 2018. "Social Norms and Pro-Environment Behaviours: Heterogeneous Response to Signals," Discussion Papers in Environment and Development Economics 2018-02, University of St. Andrews, School of Geography and Sustainable Development.
    9. repec:sss:wpaper:201403 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Christine L. Exley & Judd B. Kessler, 2017. "Motivated Errors," Harvard Business School Working Papers 18-017, Harvard Business School, revised May 2018.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voluntary contributions Public goods Responsibility Altruism Information campaigns Cognitive dissonance;

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D89 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Other
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Q21 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices

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