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Determinants of sustainable consumption in France: the importance of social influence and environmental values

Nathalie Lazaric, Fabrice Guel, Jean Belin, Vanessa Oltra, Sébastien Lavaud and Ali Douai
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Fabrice Guel: University of Paris Sud
Vanessa Oltra: University of Bordeaux
Sébastien Lavaud: University of Bordeaux
Ali Douai: University of Côte d’Azur

Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 2020, vol. 30, issue 5, No 4, 1337-1366

Abstract: Abstract Our article provides empirical findings for France related to sustainable consumption and what triggers sustainable behavior. We investigate various potential key explanatory variables including social influence and environmental values, among others. Our main contribution is to survey and to analyze a set of consumption practices (rather than the examination of single practices as in most of the literature) for a large sample of more than 3000 households. The survey was conducted in France in 2012. We use cluster analysis to identify and describe the different consumer behavior profiles. This methodology identifies three clusters of consumers characterized by diverse concerns related to the environmental impact of their consumption. Based on these clusters, ordered Logit models are fitted on three levels of sustainable consumption behaviors. Our results emphasize the importance of age, gender, education, environmental concern and peer effects for spurring sustainable consumption. We discuss the role of peer pressure as a major determinant. Learning about sustainable behavior from peers seems to complement changing environmental values and stimulate pro-environmental behavior. Our findings show that local externalities clearly outweigh the global consequences related to the promotion of sustainable consumption behaviors that is, the ability to learn in small networks is critical for the promotion of trust and the exchange of ideas and practices.

Keywords: Q58; D23; D11; D91; R21; Sustainable consumption; Peers effect; Social influences; Green neighborhood; Conformity bias; Environmental values (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s00191-019-00654-7

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