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Sustainability policy as if people mattered: developing a framework for environmentally significant behavioral change

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  • Chad M. Baum

    () (University of Bonn)

  • Christian Gross

    (Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection)

Abstract

International climate accords like the Paris agreement set the broad agenda for climate action. To realize their potential however, it is vital to ‘get the context right’ so that environmentally significant behaviors can be repeated over time. This paper reviews the extant interdisciplinary literature to outline how a richer understanding of the interrelationships between individual and contextual factors is required to cultivate behavioral change. In this manner, 18 distinct behavioral determinants are identified. We argue that the likelihood of behavioral change and overall environmental impact are thereby reliant on the complex interaction between individual behavior and the multiple distinct layers of context that frame its expression. Our behavior-informed approach thus helps to explain processes of behavioral change more fully, establish the types of obstacles that exist, and delineate a fuller and more substantial role for individual-driven behavioral change that is able to build on the initial impetus of global-level frameworks.

Suggested Citation

  • Chad M. Baum & Christian Gross, 2017. "Sustainability policy as if people mattered: developing a framework for environmentally significant behavioral change," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 53-95, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbioec:v:19:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10818-016-9238-3
    DOI: 10.1007/s10818-016-9238-3
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sustainability policy; Individual behavior; Rebound effects; Behavioral spillovers; Contextual determinants;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • P28 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Natural Resources; Environment
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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