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Voluntary citizen participation in carbon allowance markets: the role of norm-based motivation


  • ÅSA Lindman
  • Kristina Ek
  • Patrik Söderholm


The results from a semi-experimental study of Swedish students' stated willingness to purchase emission allowances for carbon dioxide are presented. Drawing heavily on recent developments in the literature on integrating norm-motivated behaviour into neoclassical consumer theory, it is assumed that individuals have a preference for maintaining a self-image as a responsible (and thus norm-compliant) person. The results indicate that students' willingness to purchase carbon allowances is determined by both price and the presence of norms: those who feel personally responsible for contributing to reducing climate damages also appear more inclined to buy allowances. The empirical findings are consistent with the notion that a person's beliefs about others' stated willingness to purchase carbon allowances imply improvements in their own self-image and ultimately behavioural change. This suggests that information campaigns that attempt to influence beliefs about others' intentions could promote 'green' consumer behaviour in the carbon allowance market. Such (stated) behaviour also appears to be influenced by a person's awareness of the problem of climate change and their beliefs about their own ability to contribute to solving it. Policy relevance Although there is a concern that public goods such as reduced climate change may be under-provided in the free market, individual concern for the environment occasionally has profound impacts on consumer choice and voluntary action. This research suggests that information campaigns that attempt to influence beliefs about others' intentions could promote 'green' consumer behaviour in carbon allowance markets. Publicly-provided information about the impacts of climate change and the ways in which these damages stem from individual choices could also induce this type of behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • ÅSA Lindman & Kristina Ek & Patrik Söderholm, 2013. "Voluntary citizen participation in carbon allowance markets: the role of norm-based motivation," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(6), pages 680-697, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:tcpoxx:v:13:y:2013:i:6:p:680-697
    DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2013.810436

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    Cited by:

    1. Hanimann, Raphael & Vinterbäck, Johan & Mark-Herbert, Cecilia, 2015. "Consumer behavior in renewable electricity: Can branding in accordance with identity signaling increase demand for renewable electricity and strengthen supplier brands?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 11-21.
    2. Andrea Baranzini & Stefano Carattini, 2017. "Effectiveness, earmarking and labeling: testing the acceptability of carbon taxes with survey data," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 19(1), pages 197-227, January.
    3. repec:eee:jeeman:v:84:y:2017:i:c:p:209-222 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Stefano Carattini & Simon Levin & Alessandro Tavoni, 2017. "Cooperation in the climate commons," GRI Working Papers 259, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    5. Diederich, Johannes & Goeschl, Timo, 2017. "Does Mitigation Begin At Home?," Working Papers 0634, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    6. Martha A. Starr, 2015. "The Economics of Ethical Consumption," Working Papers 2015-01, American University, Department of Economics.
    7. repec:eee:jeeman:v:90:y:2018:i:c:p:175-180 is not listed on IDEAS

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