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Reconsidering the Nature and Effects of Habits in Urban Transportation Behaviour

  • Olivier Brette

    (INSA Lyon
    CNRS Environnement Ville Société (EVS)
    University of Lyon)

  • Thomas Buhler

    (University of Franche-Comté
    CNRS ThéMA)

  • Nathalie Lazaric

    (GREDEG CNRS
    University of Nice Sophia Antipolis)

  • Kevin Marechal

    (Université Libre de Bruxelles, CESSE-ULB
    Belgian National Fund for Research (FNRS))

This paper adds to the growing empirical evidence on the importance of habits in governing human behaviour, and sheds new light on individual inertia in relation to transportation behaviour. An enriched perspective rooted in Veblenian evolutionary economics (VEE) is used to construct a theoretical framework in order to analyse the processes at play in the formation and reinforcement of habits. The empirical study explores more specifically the synchronic processes strengthening the car-using habit. In addition to underlining the shortcomings of a ‘decision theory’ perspective to address urban transportation behaviours, we find that synchronic habits can have a significant effect on behavioural inertia. Our results suggest the existence of positive feedback between the development of synchronic habits, qualitative perceptions of driving times and reinforcement of the car-using habit. The paper points out also that the diachronic dimension of habits would constitute another promising domain for further research on behavioural inertia in transportation.

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File URL: http://www.gredeg.cnrs.fr/working-papers/GREDEG-WP-2014-10.pdf
File Function: First version, 2014
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Paper provided by Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis in its series GREDEG Working Papers with number 2014-10.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2014
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in Journal of Institutional Economics
Handle: RePEc:gre:wpaper:2014-10
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  1. Hodgson, Geoffrey M., 2004. "Reclaiming habit for institutional economics," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 651-660, October.
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  9. Maréchal, Kevin, 2010. "Not irrational but habitual: The importance of "behavioural lock-in" in energy consumption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 1104-1114, March.
  10. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
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  13. Nathalie Lazaric, 2011. "Organizational routines and cognition: an introduction to empirical an analytical contributions," Post-Print hal-00599719, HAL.
  14. Richard Arena & Nathalie Lazaric, 2003. "Introduction," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 54(2), pages 323-328.
  15. John Thøgersen & Berit Møller, 2008. "Breaking car use habits: The effectiveness of a free one-month travelcard," Transportation, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 329-345, May.
  16. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2003. "The hidden persuaders: institutions and individuals in economic theory," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(2), pages 159-175, March.
  17. Agnès Festré & Pierre Garrouste, 2009. "The economic analysis of social norms: A reappraisal of Hayek’s legacy," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 259-279, September.
  18. Hodgson, Geoffrey M. & Knudsen, Thorbjorn, 2004. "The complex evolution of a simple traffic convention: the functions and implications of habit," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 19-47, May.
  19. Fleetwood, Steve, 2008. "Structure, institution, agency, habit, and reflexive deliberation," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 183-203, August.
  20. Lindbladh, Eva & Lyttkens, Carl Hampus, 2002. "Habit versus choice: the process of decision-making in health-related behaviour," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 451-465, August.
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  23. Gronow, Antti, 2008. "Not by rules or choice alone: a pragmatist critique of institution theories in economics and sociology," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(03), pages 351-373, December.
  24. Earl, Peter E., 2012. "Experiential analysis of automotive consumption," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(7), pages 1067-1072.
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