Economics at your fingertips  

Young People as Drivers or Inhibitors of the Sustainability Movement: The Case of Anti-Consumption

F. Ziesemer (), A. Hüttel and I. Balderjahn
Additional contact information
F. Ziesemer: University of Potsdam
A. Hüttel: University of Potsdam
I. Balderjahn: University of Potsdam

Journal of Consumer Policy, 2021, vol. 44, issue 3, No 4, 427-453

Abstract: Abstract As overconsumption has negative effects on ecological balance, social equality, and individual well-being, reducing consumption levels among the materially affluent is an emerging strategy for sustainable development. Today’s youth form a crucial target group for intervening in unsustainable overconsumption habits and for setting the path and ideas on responsible living. This article explores young people’s motivations for engaging in three behavioural patterns linked to anti-consumption (voluntary simplicity, collaborative consumption, and living within one’s means) in relation to sustainability. Applying a qualitative approach, laddering interviews reveal the consequences and values behind the anti-consumption behaviours of young people of ages 14 to 24 according to a means-end chains analysis. The findings highlight potential for and the challenges involved in motivating young people to reduce material levels of consumption for the sake of sustainability. Related consumer policy tools from the fields of education and communication are identified. This article provides practical implications for policy makers, activists, and educators. Consumer policies may strengthen anti-consumption among young people by addressing individual benefits, enabling reflection on personal values, and referencing credible narratives. The presented insights can help give a voice to young consumers, who struggle to establish themselves as key players in shaping the future consumption regime.

Keywords: Voluntary simplicity; Collaborative consumption; Sustainable consumption; Means-end chain analysis; Laddering interviews; Youth (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) Abstract (text/html)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.springer. ... es/journal/10603/PS2

DOI: 10.1007/s10603-021-09489-x

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Consumer Policy is currently edited by Hans Micklitz, John Thøgersen, Lucia A. Reisch, Alan Mathios and Christian Twigg-Flesner

More articles in Journal of Consumer Policy from Springer
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().

Page updated 2022-10-01
Handle: RePEc:kap:jcopol:v:44:y:2021:i:3:d:10.1007_s10603-021-09489-x