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The effects of framing on environmental decisions: A systematic literature review

Aja Ropret Homar and Ljubica Knežević Cvelbar

Ecological Economics, 2021, vol. 183, issue C

Abstract: Faced with a growing sense of urgency to combat climate change, environmental policy is increasingly turning to alternative policy instruments. One method for boosting green behaviour among individuals rooted in applied behavioural economics is loss framing - transforming existing messages so that they emphasise the potential negative consequences of an action or inaction on the environment. This paper provides a systematic review of the existing body of evidence on framing effects in pro-environmental decisions. Based on an analysis of 61 studies captured in 47 distinct papers we find that real behaviour has been largely neglected as an outcome variable, with preference in the literature given to the measurement of self-reporting constructs such as attitudes, willingness to pay and behavioural intentions. In support of the loss aversion hypothesis, loss framing was found to be more or equally effective in all studies examining behaviour and intentions, though gain framing was more successful where the choices taken required lower commitment, namely attitudes. We provide an analysis of other loss framing success factors and draw policy- and research implications.

Keywords: Pro-environmental behaviour; Systematic literature review; Behavioural economics; Framing; Nudges (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.106950

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