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Economic theories of sustainable consumption

Jeroen van den Bergh and Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell

No 55, Serie Research Memoranda from VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics

Abstract: The term ‘sustainable consumption’ denotes the search for consumption patterns that reduce human pressure on the environment and nature. This search involves three levels of research. First, the relationship between consumption, lifestyles and environmental sustainability has to be clarified. A general scheme of relationships will be presented here. Second, a theoretical framework for studying economic behaviour, consisting of five elements, is proposed. Moreover, various theoretical models are discussed in this context. Finally, the policy relevance of specific theories of behaviour for sustainable consumption is considered. This gives rise to both traditional and innovative prescriptions.

Keywords: Consumer behaviour; economic growth; dematerialisation; ‘Factor 4’ rebound effects; recycling; endogenous preferences; lexicographic preferences; imitation; satisficing; habitual behaviour; life styles; needs; happiness; welfare. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D11 D63 Q20 Q30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1999
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