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Social Interaction in Responsibility Ascription: The Case of Household Recycling

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  • Kjell Arne Brekke
  • Gorm Kipperberg
  • Karine Nyborg

Abstract

Duty-orientation implies a warm glow of giving as well as a cold shiver of not giving enough. If duty-oriented consumers learn their moral responsibility by observing others’ behavior, social interaction in contribution behavior arises. However, since moral responsibility is a burden, duty-oriented consumers may be less willing to accept responsibility if their information about others’ behavior is uncertain. Data from a survey on households’ glass recycling indicates that perceived responsibility is a major determinant for reported recycling, that responsibility ascription is influenced by beliefs about others’ behavior, and that people are, indeed, reluctant to accept responsibility based on uncertain information.

Suggested Citation

  • Kjell Arne Brekke & Gorm Kipperberg & Karine Nyborg, 2010. "Social Interaction in Responsibility Ascription: The Case of Household Recycling," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(4), pages 766-784.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:86:y:2010:iv:1:p:766-784
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ida Ferrara & Paul Missios, 2005. "Recycling and Waste Diversion Effectiveness: Evidence from Canada," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 30(2), pages 221-238, February.
    2. Nyborg, Karine & Howarth, Richard B. & Brekke, Kjell Arne, 2006. "Green consumers and public policy: On socially contingent moral motivation," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 351-366, November.
    3. Gorm Kipperberg, 2007. "A Comparison of Household Recycling Behaviors in Norway and the United States," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 36(2), pages 215-235, February.
    4. Berrens, Robert P. & Bohara, Alok K. & Jenkins-Smith, Hank & Silva, Carol L. & Ganderton, Philip & Brookshire, David, 1998. "A joint investigation of public support and public values: case of instream flows in New Mexico," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 189-203, November.
    5. Brekke, Kjell Arne & Kipperberg, Gorm & Nyborg, Karine, 2009. "Reluctant Recyclers: Social Interaction in Responsibility Ascription," Memorandum 16/2007, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    6. Brekke, Kjell Arne & Kverndokk, Snorre & Nyborg, Karine, 2003. "An economic model of moral motivation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1967-1983, September.
    7. Bohara, Alok K. & Caplan, Arthur J. & Grijalva, Therese, 2007. "The effect of experience and quantity-based pricing on the valuation of a curbside recycling program," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 433-443, December.
    8. Robin R. Jenkins, 1993. "The Economics Of Solid Waste Reduction," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 248.
    9. Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil, 2004. "The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1625-1644, July.
    10. Jenkins, Robin R. & Martinez, Salvador A. & Palmer, Karen & Podolsky, Michael J., 2003. "The determinants of household recycling: a material-specific analysis of recycling program features and unit pricing," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 294-318, March.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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