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Look at me Saving the Planet! The Imitation of Visible Green Behavior and its Impact on the Climate Value-Action Gap

Zakaria Babutsidze and Andreas Chai

Ecological Economics, 2018, vol. 146, issue C, 290-303

Abstract: Examining the regional distribution of 15 different Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Practices (MPs) across Australia, we study the tendency for consumers to imitate visible pro-environmental behavior in their local region. While there is a great deal of variation in the specific type of MPs adopted by consumers located in the same region, ANOVA results suggest that they tend to adopt a similar number of MPs as their neighbours. Using discrete choice modelling, our results suggest that this is due to the peer adoption of certain visible MPs, such as using public transport or car-pooling, encouraging agents to adopt other types of visible MPs. However, the character of this spillover is limited in that visible pro-environmental behavior does not appear to influence the adoption of non-visible MPs. We also find that social imitation patterns help individuals overcome the observed gap between their stated concern about climate change and their propensity to act on this concern, known as the climate ‘value-action’ gap. Policy implications for designing effective green nudges are discussed.

Keywords: Visible behaviourbehavior; Imitation; Value-action gap; Mitigation practices; Green nudges (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D12 D83 Q50 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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