IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/joepsy/v88y2022ics0167487021000878.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Information avoidance, selective exposure, and fake (?) news: Theory and experimental evidence on green consumption

Author

Listed:
  • Momsen, Katharina
  • Ohndorf, Markus

Abstract

We investigate self-serving information avoidance by consumers when revelation is stochastic and the revealed information is potentially erroneous. Our formal considerations based on a cognitive dissonance model suggest that the size of the price difference between product options determines if information avoidance arises. This prediction is supported by our laboratory experiment, in which subjects purchase products associated with co-benefits implemented as contributions to climate change mitigation. In seven treatments, we alter the information structure as well as the perceived revelation costs. We find robust evidence of self-serving information avoidance in treatments with simple stochastic revelation and reduced reliability of information, representing potential ‘fake’ news. The propensity to avoid information increases with the introduction of merely nominal information costs. In contrast to previous studies, we conclude that self-serving information avoidance can arise in consumption, which could also explain the persistent demand for products associated with ‘green-washing’.

Suggested Citation

  • Momsen, Katharina & Ohndorf, Markus, 2022. "Information avoidance, selective exposure, and fake (?) news: Theory and experimental evidence on green consumption," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 88(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:88:y:2022:i:c:s0167487021000878
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2021.102457
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167487021000878
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.joep.2021.102457?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2002. "Sex Differences and Statistical Stereotyping in Attitudes Toward Financial Risk," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-03, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    3. Lind, Jo Thori & Nyborg, Karine & Pauls, Anna, 2019. "Save the planet or close your eyes? Testing strategic ignorance in a charity context," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 9-19.
    4. Mikaël Klintman, 2016. "A Review of Public Policies relating to the Use of Environmental Labelling and Information Schemes (ELIS)," OECD Environment Working Papers 105, OECD Publishing.
    5. Rabin, Matthew, 1994. "Cognitive dissonance and social change," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-194, March.
    6. Zachary Grossman & Joël J. van der Weele, 2017. "Self-Image and Willful Ignorance in Social Decisions," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 173-217.
    7. Alexander Coutts, 2019. "Good news and bad news are still news: experimental evidence on belief updating," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 22(2), pages 369-395, June.
    8. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2005. "Self-Confidence and Personal Motivation," International Economic Association Series, in: Bina Agarwal & Alessandro Vercelli (ed.), Psychology, Rationality and Economic Behaviour, chapter 2, pages 19-57, Palgrave Macmillan.
    9. Francesca Gino & Michael I. Norton & Roberto A. Weber, 2016. "Motivated Bayesians: Feeling Moral While Acting Egoistically," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 189-212, Summer.
    10. Peeters, Ronald & Vorsatz, Marc, 2021. "Simple guilt and cooperation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    11. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Media Bias and Reputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 280-316, April.
    12. Garcia, Thomas & Massoni, Sébastien & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2020. "Ambiguity and excuse-driven behavior in charitable giving," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 124(C).
    13. Momsen, Katharina & Ohndorf, Markus, 2020. "When do people exploit moral wiggle room? An experimental analysis of information avoidance in a market setup," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).
    14. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(2), pages 135-135.
    15. Katharina Momsen & Markus Ohndorf, 2020. "Expressive Voting vs. Self-Serving Ignorance," Working Papers 2020-33, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, Universität Innsbruck.
    16. Simon P. Anderson & John McLaren, 2012. "Media Mergers And Media Bias With Rational Consumers," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 831-859, August.
    17. Matthew Rabin., 1995. "Moral Preferences, Moral Constraints, and Self-Serving Biases," Economics Working Papers 95-241, University of California at Berkeley.
    18. Björn Bartling & Roberto A. Weber & Lan Yao, 2015. "Do Markets Erode Social Responsibility?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 130(1), pages 219-266.
    19. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
    20. Mischkowski, Dorothee & Glöckner, Andreas & Lewisch, Peter, 2021. "Information search, coherence effects, and their interplay in legal decision making," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 87(C).
    21. Andrew Prag & Thomas Lyon & Aimée Russillo, 2016. "Multiplication of Environmental Labelling and Information Schemes (ELIS): Implications for Environment and Trade," OECD Environment Working Papers 106, OECD Publishing.
    22. Blasch, Julia & Ohndorf, Markus, 2015. "Altruism, moral norms and social approval: Joint determinants of individual offset behavior," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 251-260.
    23. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    24. Lorien Jasny & Joseph Waggle & Dana R. Fisher, 2015. "An empirical examination of echo chambers in US climate policy networks," Nature Climate Change, Nature, vol. 5(8), pages 782-786, August.
    25. Douglas Guilbeault & Joshua Becker & Damon Centola, 2018. "Social learning and partisan bias in the interpretation of climate trends," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 115(39), pages 9714-9719, September.
    26. Feiler, Lauren, 2014. "Testing models of information avoidance with binary choice dictator games," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 253-267.
    27. 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.
    28. Astrid Matthey & Tobias Regner, 2011. "Do I Really Want to Know? A Cognitive Dissonance-Based Explanation of Other-Regarding Behavior," Games, MDPI, vol. 2(1), pages 1-22, February.
    29. David Eil & Justin M. Rao, 2011. "The Good News-Bad News Effect: Asymmetric Processing of Objective Information about Yourself," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 114-138, May.
    30. Kanay, Ayşegül & Hilton, Denis & Charalambides, Laetitia & Corrégé, Jean-Baptiste & Inaudi, Eva & Waroquier, Laurent & Cezera, Stéphane, 2021. "Making the carbon basket count: Goal setting promotes sustainable consumption in a simulated online supermarket," TSE Working Papers 21-1191, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    31. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2016. "Mindful Economics: The Production, Consumption, and Value of Beliefs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 141-164, Summer.
    32. Z. Leviston & I. Walker & S. Morwinski, 2013. "Your opinion on climate change might not be as common as you think," Nature Climate Change, Nature, vol. 3(4), pages 334-337, April.
    33. Ayşegül Kanay & Denis Hilton & Laetitia Charalambides & Jean-Baptiste Corrégé & Eva Inaudi & Laurent Waroquier & Stéphane Cezera, 2021. "Making the carbon basket count: Goal setting promotes sustainable consumption in a simulated online supermarket," Post-Print hal-03159876, HAL.
    34. Lorien Jasny & Joseph Waggle & Dana R. Fisher, 2015. "Correction: Corrigendum: An empirical examination of echo chambers in US climate policy networks," Nature Climate Change, Nature, vol. 5(11), pages 1020-1020, November.
    35. Christine L. Exley, 2016. "Excusing Selfishness in Charitable Giving: The Role of Risk," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 83(2), pages 587-628.
    36. Mark Pigors & Bettina Rockenbach, 2016. "Consumer Social Responsibility," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(11), pages 3123-3137, November.
    37. Kanay, Ayşegül & Hilton, Denis & Charalambides, Laetitia & Corrégé, Jean-Baptiste & Inaudi, Eva & Waroquier, Laurent & Cézéra, Stéphane, 2021. "Making the carbon basket count: Goal setting promotes sustainable consumption in a simulated online supermarket," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 83(C).
    38. Bock, Olaf & Baetge, Ingmar & Nicklisch, Andreas, 2014. "hroot: Hamburg Registration and Organization Online Tool," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 117-120.
    39. Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
    40. Soham Baksi & Pinaki Bose, 2007. "Credence Goods, Efficient Labelling Policies, and Regulatory Enforcement," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(2), pages 411-430, June.
    41. Christine L. Exley & Judd B. Kessler, 2021. "Information Avoidance and Image Concerns," NBER Working Papers 28376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    42. Russell Golman & David Hagmann & George Loewenstein, 2017. "Information Avoidance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(1), pages 96-135, March.
    43. Aysegul Kanay & Denis Hilton & Laetitia Charalambides & Jean-Baptiste Corrégé & Eva Inaudi & Laurent Waroquier & Stéphane Cézéra, 2021. "Making the carbon basket count: Goal setting promotes sustainable consumption in a simulated online supermarket," Post-Print hal-03403040, HAL.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Friedrichsen, Jana & Momsen, Katharina & Piasenti, Stefano, 2022. "Ignorance, intention and stochastic outcomes," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 100, pages 1-1.
    2. Momsen, Katharina & Ohndorf, Markus, 2023. "Information avoidance: Self-image concerns, inattention, and ideology," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 211(C), pages 386-400.
    3. Mata, André & Vaz, André & Mendonça, Bernardo, 2022. "Deliberate ignorance in moral dilemmas: Protecting judgment from conflicting information," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    4. Friedrichsen, Jana & Momsen, Katharina & Piasenti, Stefano, 2022. "Ignorance, intention and stochastic outcomes☆," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 100(C).
    5. Katharina Momsen & Markus Ohndorf, 2023. "Expressive voting versus information avoidance: experimental evidence in the context of climate change mitigation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 194(1), pages 45-74, January.
    6. Lange, Florian & Dewitte, Siegfried, 2023. "Non-monetary reinforcement effects on pro-environmental behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 97(C).
    7. Katharina Momsen & Markus Ohndorf, 2022. "Seller Opportunism in Credence Good Markets – The Role of Market Conditions," Working Papers 2022-10, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, Universität Innsbruck.
    8. Richard Völker & Sven Grüner, 2023. "Animal protection and information avoidance," Chapters, in: Cass R. Sunstein & Lucia A. Reisch (ed.), Research Handbook on Nudges and Society, chapter 7, pages 109-128, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Völker, Richard & Gruener, Sven, 2023. "Wollen wir überhaupt wissen, wie der Status quo im Tierschutz ist?," OSF Preprints pbyfg, Center for Open Science.
    10. Kevin Bauer & Andrej Gill, 2024. "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Algorithmic Assessments, Transparency, and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 35(1), pages 226-248, March.
    11. Jeremy Straub & Matthew Spradling & Bob Fedor, 2022. "Assessment of Factors Impacting the Perception of Online Content Trustworthiness by Age, Education and Gender," Societies, MDPI, vol. 12(2), pages 1-66, March.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Katharina Momsen & Markus Ohndorf, 2023. "Expressive voting versus information avoidance: experimental evidence in the context of climate change mitigation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 194(1), pages 45-74, January.
    2. Momsen, Katharina & Ohndorf, Markus, 2020. "Information Avoidance, Selective Exposure, and Fake(?) News - A Market Experiment," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224637, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Katharina Momsen & Markus Ohndorf, 2019. "Information Avoidance, Selective Exposure, and Fake(?) News-A Green Market Experiment," Working Papers 2019-18, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, Universität Innsbruck.
    4. Momsen, Katharina & Ohndorf, Markus, 2020. "When do people exploit moral wiggle room? An experimental analysis of information avoidance in a market setup," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).
    5. Katharina Momsen & Markus Ohndorf, 2020. "Expressive Voting vs. Self-Serving Ignorance," Working Papers 2020-33, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, Universität Innsbruck.
    6. Momsen, Katharina & Ohndorf, Markus, 2023. "Information avoidance: Self-image concerns, inattention, and ideology," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 211(C), pages 386-400.
    7. Katharina Momsen & Markus Ohndorf, 2022. "Seller Opportunism in Credence Good Markets – The Role of Market Conditions," Working Papers 2022-10, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, Universität Innsbruck.
    8. Ging-Jehli, Nadja R. & Schneider, Florian H. & Weber, Roberto A., 2020. "On self-serving strategic beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 341-353.
    9. Katharina Momsen & Markus Ohndorf, 2019. "When do people exploit moral wiggle room? An experimental analysis in a market setup," Working Papers 2019-03, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, Universität Innsbruck.
    10. Soraperra, Ivan & van der Weele, Joël & Villeval, Marie Claire & Shalvi, Shaul, 2023. "The social construction of ignorance: Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 197-213.
    11. Marta Serra-Garcia & Nora Szech, 2022. "The (In)Elasticity of Moral Ignorance," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 68(7), pages 4815-4834, July.
    12. Vanessa Valero, 2022. "Redistribution and beliefs about the source of income inequality," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 25(3), pages 876-901, June.
    13. Friedrichsen, Jana & Momsen, Katharina & Piasenti, Stefano, 2022. "Ignorance, intention and stochastic outcomes," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 100, pages 1-1.
    14. Shimon Kogan & Florian H. Schneider & Roberto A. Weber, 2021. "Self-Serving Biases in Beliefs about Collective Outcomes," CESifo Working Paper Series 8975, CESifo.
    15. Lind, Jo Thori & Nyborg, Karine & Pauls, Anna, 2019. "Save the planet or close your eyes? Testing strategic ignorance in a charity context," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 9-19.
    16. Hillenbrand, Adrian & Verrina, Eugenio, 2022. "The asymmetric effect of narratives on prosocial behavior," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 241-270.
    17. Ivan Soraperra & Joël van der Weele & Marie Claire Villeval & Shaul Shalvi, 2022. "The Social Construction of Ignorance: Experimental Evidence," Post-Print hal-03907198, HAL.
    18. Stephanie A. Heger & Robert Slonim & Franziska Tausch, 2022. "Self-serving dishonesty: The role of confidence in driving dishonesty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 64(3), pages 235-250, June.
    19. Friedrichsen, Jana & Momsen, Katharina & Piasenti, Stefano, 2022. "Ignorance, intention and stochastic outcomes☆," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 100(C).
    20. Shaul Shalvi & Ivan Soraperra & Joël van der Weele & Marie Claire Villeval, 2019. "Shooting the Messenger? Supply and Demand in Markets for Willful Ignorance," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 19-071/I, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information avoidance; Moral wiggle room; Sustainable consumption; Cognitive dissonance; Information economics; Carbon offsets;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D89 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Other
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:88:y:2022:i:c:s0167487021000878. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.