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Reactance or acceptance? Reactions towards the introduction of road pricing

  • Schade, J.
  • Baum, M.

We tested the opposite predictions of reactance and dissonance theory, two popular psychological theories, with regard to the responses of car drivers to the introduction of the road pricing. Reactance theory predicts that persons who are convinced that a toll will come are more opposed than less convinced persons. In contrast, dissonance theory expects that convinced persons are more in favour of road pricing than less convinced persons. Aim of the study was to test which theory is more appropriate to explain user reactions towards the toll introduction. We experimentally manipulated the perceived likelihood (low, middle, high and a control condition) of a toll introduction for private cars on German motorways (NÂ =Â 140 car drivers). In accordance with the predictions of dissonance theory, results revealed clearly that convinced persons about a definite introduction of road pricing developed more positive attitudes towards road pricing than less convinced persons, i.e., the strength of conviction about the introduction of road pricing has a strong effect on the attitudinal evaluation of road pricing. The implications are discussed.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.

Volume (Year): 41 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 41-48

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Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:41:y:2007:i:1:p:41-48
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  1. Odeck, James & Bråthen, Svein, 2002. "Toll financing in Norway: The success, the failures and perspectives for the future," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 253-260, July.
  2. Piet Rietveld & Kenneth Button & Peter Nijkamp (ed.), 2003. "Urban Transport," Books, Edward Elgar, number 2266, December.
  3. Satoshi Fujii & Tommy Gärling & Cecilia Jakobsson & Rong-Chang Jou, 2004. "A cross-country study of fairness and infringement on freedom as determinants of car owners' acceptance of road pricing," Transportation, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 285-295, August.
  4. S. Jaensirisak & M. Wardman & A. D. May, 2005. "Explaining Variations in Public Acceptability of Road Pricing Schemes," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and University of Bath, vol. 39(2), pages 127-154, May.
  5. Jakobsson, C. & Fujii, S. & Gärling, T., 2000. "Determinants of private car users' acceptance of road pricing," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 153-158, April.
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