Conspicuous Conservation: Pro-environmental Consumption and Status Competition

Conspicuous Conservation: Pro-environmental Consumption and Status Competition

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How can we motivate people to go green by switching to environmentally friendly behaviors? Traditional approaches suggest providing people with information (about the plight of the environment) or with financial incentives (to switch to green products). Drawing on evolutionary theories of status that consider the reputational costs and benefits of altruism, this research examined a novel strategy to promote green consumption: activating a desire for status. A series of experiments showed that status motives can lead people to forego products that are luxurious and effective and instead choose relatively inferior products that have pro-social green features. Consistent with the reputational benefits of prosociality and the reputational costs of selfishness, status motives were especially likely to increase desire for green products when shopping in public, but not in private. Also in line with costly signaling theory, status motives led green products to be particularly desirable when they cost more than their non-green counterparts. These findings contribute to a broader understanding of the links between status and altruism, and also indicate that the activation of status motives can be an effective strategy to promote pro-environmental consumption.Yet a closer examination suggests that neither motivation can fully explain why the Toyota Prius and many other green goods are flying off the shelves. ... there has been no change in either the distance that people live from work or in the amount of time people spend driving (Economist, 2008). And perhaps even more concerning is that an examination of lifetime energy use of a car a€” its maintenance, anbsp;...

Title:Conspicuous Conservation: Pro-environmental Consumption and Status Competition
Author:Vladas Griskevicius
Publisher:ProQuest - 2008


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