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Nature Experiences and Pro-Environmental Behavior: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial

Sarah Lynn Flecke (), Rene Schwaiger (), Jürgen Huber () and Michael Kirchler ()

Working Papers from Faculty of Economics and Statistics, Universität Innsbruck

Abstract: We conducted a randomized controlled trial in a lab and natural setting to investigate whether exposure to nature leads people to behave more pro-environmentally. We further investigated whether attention restoration mediates this effect. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions, in which they spent 15 minutes either walking through a park, walking through an urban area with limited greenery, viewing a video of a nature walk, or remaining seated in the lab (taking a break). Participants were given a EUR 10 endowment to keep for themselves or donate to either a conservation, social, or cultural charity. We measured the frequency and the amount donated to the conservation charity as indicators of pro-environmental behavior. We found that real nature exposure positively affects pro-environmental behavior compared to viewing a nature video. This effect was mediated by self-reported restoration, however, the mediator was not robust to controlling for environmental concern and nature identity, implying that attention restoration as a mechanism is driven by more environmentally concerned and connected individuals.

Keywords: pro-environmental behavior; nature experience; attention restoration; restorativeness; randomized controlled trial (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D91 Q50 Q51 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 90
Date: 2023
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env, nep-exp and nep-res
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Handle: RePEc:inn:wpaper:2023-13