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I Don't Want to Hear About it: Rational Ignorance among Duty-Oriented Consumers

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  • Nyborg, Karine

    (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)

Abstract

Individuals with a preference for keeping moral obligations may dislike learning that voluntary contributions are socially valuable: Such informa- tion can trigger unpleasant feelings of cognitive dissonance. I show that if initial beliefs about the social value of contributions are sufficiently low, duty-oriented consumers are willing to pay to avoid information. Attitude campaigns can increase contributions from such consumers by providing them with unwanted information. Consequentialist warm glow types with low initial beliefs, however, will seek low-cost information on their own initiative; thus, campaigns will have less effects for such consumers.

Suggested Citation

  • Nyborg, Karine, 2008. "I Don't Want to Hear About it: Rational Ignorance among Duty-Oriented Consumers," Memorandum 15/2008, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:2008_015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voluntary contributions: public goods; responsibility; altruism; information campaigns; cognitive dissonance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D89 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Other
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Q21 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices

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