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Nudging to reduce meat consumption: Immediate and persistent effects of an intervention at a university restaurant

Verena Kurz

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2018, vol. 90, issue C, 317-341

Abstract: Reducing meat consumption is considered to have great potential to mitigate food-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. I conducted a field experiment with two restaurants to test if nudging can increase the consumption of vegetarian food. At the treated restaurant, the salience of the vegetarian option was increased by changing the menu order and enhancing the visibility of the vegetarian dish. The other restaurant served as a control. Daily sales data on the three main dishes sold were collected from September 2015 until June 2016. Results show that the nudge increased the share of vegetarian lunches sold by on average 6 percentage points, and that the treatment effect increased over time. The change in behavior is partly persistent, as the share of vegetarian lunches sold remained 4 percentage points higher after the intervention ended than before the experiment. The intervention reduced GHG emissions from food sales by around 5 percent.

Keywords: Nudging; Field experiment; Meat consumption; Climate change mitigation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D12 C93 Q50 D03 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Journal of Environmental Economics and Management is currently edited by M.A. Cole, A. Lange, D.J. Phaneuf, D. Popp, M.J. Roberts, M.D. Smith, C. Timmins, Q. Weninger and A.J. Yates

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