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Conspicuous conservation: The Prius halo and willingness to pay for environmental bona fides

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  • Sexton, Steven E.
  • Sexton, Alison L.

Abstract

This paper develops a theory of conspicuous conservation, a phenomenon related to conspicuous consumption in which individuals seek status through displays of austerity amid growing concern about environmental protection. We identify a statistically and economically significant conspicuous conservation effect in vehicle purchase decisions and estimate a mean willingness to pay for the green signal provided by the distinctively designed Toyota Prius in the range of $430–4200 depending upon the owner's location. Results are related to the growing literature on green markets and suggest that policy should target less conspicuous conservation investments that will be under-provided relative to those that confer a status benefit.

Suggested Citation

  • Sexton, Steven E. & Sexton, Alison L., 2014. "Conspicuous conservation: The Prius halo and willingness to pay for environmental bona fides," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 303-317.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:67:y:2014:i:3:p:303-317
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2013.11.004
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