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Experimental evidence of an environmental attitude-behavior gap in high-cost situations
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies. (Ctr Data Intens Sci & Applicat, DISA;CSS)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0882-4851
Friedrich Schiller University, Germany.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies. (Ctr Data Intens Sci & Applicat, DISA;CSS)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2837-0137
2019 (English)In: Ecological Economics, ISSN 0921-8009, E-ISSN 1873-6106, Vol. 166, p. 1-12, article id 106434Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

So far, there has been mixed evidence in the literature regarding the relationship between environmental attitudes and actual `green' actions, something known as the attitude-behavior gap. This raises the question of when attitudes can actually work as a lever to promote environmental objectives, such as climate change mitigation, and, conversely, when other factors would be more effective. This paper presents an online experiment with real money at stake and real-world consequences designed to test the effect of environmental attitudes on behavior under various conditions. We found that environmental attitudes affected behavior only in low-cost situations. This finding is consistent with the low-cost hypothesis of environmental behavior postulating that concerned individuals will undertake low-cost actions in order to reduce the cognitive dissonance  between their attitudes and rational realization of the environmental impact of their behavior but avoid higher-cost actions despite their greater potential as far as environmental protection. This finding has important consequences for the design of more effective climate policies in a democratic context as it puts limits on what can be achieved by raising environmental concern alone.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019. Vol. 166, p. 1-12, article id 106434
Keywords [en]
Climate change mitigation, Low-cost hypothesis, Online experiment, Collective-risk social dilemma
National Category
Economics Climate Research
Research subject
Economy, Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-88153DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.106434ISI: 000488318100006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-88153DiVA, id: diva2:1344469
Available from: 2019-08-21 Created: 2019-08-21 Last updated: 2019-10-18Bibliographically approved

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The full text will be freely available from 2021-09-01 08:00
Available from 2021-09-01 08:00

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Farjam, MikeBravo, Giangiacomo

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  • apa
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