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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

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    File URL: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~wwwecon/repecfiles/4/1407.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    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

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