IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/san/wpecon/1407.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Consumer Behaviour in a Social Context: Implications for Environmental Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Partha Dasgupta

    (University of Cambridge and University of Manchester)

  • Dale Southerton

    (University of Manchester)

  • Alistair Ulph

    (University of Manchester)

  • David Ulph

    (University of St Andrews)

Abstract

In this paper we summarise some of our recent work on consumer behaviour, drawing on recent developments in behavioural economics, in which consumers are embedded in a social context, so their behaviour is shaped by their interactions with other consumers. For the purpose of this paper we also allow consumption to cause environmental damage. Analysing the social context of consumption naturally lends itself to the use of game theoretic tools, and indicates that we seek to develop links between economics and sociology rather than economics and psychology, which has been the more predominant field for work in behavioural economics. We shall be concerned with three sets of issues: conspicuous consumption, consumption norms and altruistic behaviour. Our aim is to show that building links between sociological and economic approaches to the study of consumer behaviour can lead to significant and surprising implications for conventional economic policy prescriptions, especially with respect to environmental policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Partha Dasgupta & Dale Southerton & Alistair Ulph & David Ulph, 2014. "Consumer Behaviour in a Social Context: Implications for Environmental Policy," Discussion Paper Series, School of Economics and Finance 201407, School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews.
  • Handle: RePEc:san:wpecon:1407
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~wwwecon/repecfiles/4/1407.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alistair Ulph & David Ulph, 2014. "Consumption Decisions When People Value Conformity," Discussion Paper Series, School of Economics and Finance 201414, School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews.
    2. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    3. Daube, Marc & Ulph, David, 2014. "Moral Behaviour, Altruism and Environmental Policy," 2007 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 1, 2007, Portland, Oregon TN 2015-11, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    4. KennethJ. Arrow & ParthaS. Dasgupta, 2009. "Conspicuous Consumption, Inconspicuous Leisure," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(541), pages 497-516, November.
    5. Cowan, Robin & Cowan, William & Swann, Peter, 1997. "A model of demand with interactions among consumers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 711-732, October.
    6. Allcott, Hunt, 2011. "Social norms and energy conservation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1082-1095, October.
    7. Daube, Marc & Ulph, David, 2014. "Moral Behaviour, Altruism and Environmental Policy," SIRE Discussion Papers 2015-11, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    8. Becker, Gary S, 1981. "Altruism in the Family and Selfishness in the Market Place," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 48(189), pages 1-15, February.
    9. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-477, June.
    10. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-877, October.
    11. Jürgen Maurer & André Meier, 2008. "Smooth it Like the “Joneses?†Estimating Peer-Group Effects in Intertemporal Consumption Choice," MEA discussion paper series 08167, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    12. Wolfgang Buchholz & Josef Falkinger & Dirk Rübbelke, 2014. "Non-Governmental Public Norm Enforcement in Large Societies as a Two-Stage Game of Voluntary Public Good Provision," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(6), pages 899-916, December.
    13. G. C. Archibald & David Donaldson, 1976. "Non-Paternalism and the Basic Theorems of Welfare Economics," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 9(3), pages 492-507, August.
    14. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    15. Rauscher, Michael, 1997. "International Trade, Factor Movements, and the Environment," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290506.
    16. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
    17. Ulph, Alistair & Ulph, David, 2014. "Consumption Decisions When People Value Conformity," 2007 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 1, 2007, Portland, Oregon TN 2015-16, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    18. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Privately provided public goods in a large economy: The limits of altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 57-73, February.
    19. Shaun P. Hargreaves Heap & Daniel John Zizzo, 2009. "The Value of Groups," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 295-323, March.
    20. Allcott, Hunt, 2011. "Social norms and energy conservation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1082-1095.
    21. Mailath, George J. & Samuelson, Larry, 2006. "Repeated Games and Reputations: Long-Run Relationships," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195300796.
    22. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2007. "Toward Choice-Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 464-470, May.
    23. Marc Daube & David Ulph, 2014. "Moral Behaviour, Altruism and Environmental Policy," Discussion Paper Series, School of Economics and Finance 201409, School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    consumer behaviour; social context; environmental policy; game theory; competitive consumption; consumption norms; altruism; moral behaviour; Kantian calculus;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:san:wpecon:1407. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (The School of Economics and Finance). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/destauk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.