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Towards Sustainable Consumption: Economics and Ethical Concerns for the Environment in Consumer Choices

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  • Jouni Paavola

Abstract

The article examines individual action informed by ethical concerns for the environment as a strategy for moving toward more sustainable consumption. The article first employs a model of rational choice to analyze independent consumer choices among the usually assumed self- and welfare-centered consumers and then expands the model to analyze the implications of other than self- and welfare-centered motivations for consumer choice. The article next analyzes interdependent consumer choices informed by self- and welfare-centered values with the help of a simple game-theoretic model and then moves on to examine the implications of nonutilitarian environmental concerns for interdependent consumer choice in the same game-theoretic framework. The article concludes that although a strategy based on individual action may have limited promise when environmental concerns are widely shared, the case for collective action remains strong because of both efficiency and equity reasons.

Suggested Citation

  • Jouni Paavola, 2001. "Towards Sustainable Consumption: Economics and Ethical Concerns for the Environment in Consumer Choices," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 59(2), pages 227-248.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:59:y:2001:i:2:p:227-248
    DOI: 10.1080/00346760110036175
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sen, Amartya, 1993. "Money and Value: On The Ethics and Economics of Finance," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 203-227, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christos Zografos & Richard B. Howarth, 2010. "Deliberative Ecological Economics for Sustainability Governance," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(11), pages 1-19, October.
    2. Frame, Bob & Brown, Judy, 2008. "Developing post-normal technologies for sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 225-241, April.
    3. Jingze Jiang, 2016. "Peer Pressure in Voluntary Environmental Programs: a Case of the Bag Rewards Program," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 155-190, June.
    4. Mari Niva & Johanna Mäkelä & Nina Kahma & Unni Kjærnes, 2014. "Eating Sustainably? Practices and Background Factors of Ecological Food Consumption in Four Nordic Countries," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 465-484, December.

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