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Green defaults: Information presentation and pro-environmental behaviour

Green defaults: Information presentation and pro-environmental behaviour
Green defaults: Information presentation and pro-environmental behaviour
There is inconsistency in many people's choice of electricity. When asked, they say they prefer a ‘green’ (i.e., environmentally friendly) source for this energy. Yet, although green electricity is available in many markets, people do not generally buy it. Why not? Motivated by behavioural decision research, we argue that the format of information presentation drastically affects the choice of electricity. Specifically, we hypothesise that people use the kind of electricity that is offered to them as the default. We present two natural studies and two experiments in the laboratory that support this hypothesis. In the two real-world situations, there was a green default, and most people used it. In the first laboratory experiment, more participants chose the green utility when it was the default than when ‘grey’ electricity was the default. In the second laboratory experiment, participants asked for more money to give up green electricity than they were willing to pay for it. We argue that changing defaults can be used to promote pro-environmental behaviour. Potential policy-making applications of this work are discussed.
63-73
Pichert, Daniel
5fb80baa-8c8c-4d81-8d77-9cfafff24b2f
Katsikopoulos, Konstantinos V.
b97c23d9-8b24-4225-8da4-be7ac2a14fba
Pichert, Daniel
5fb80baa-8c8c-4d81-8d77-9cfafff24b2f
Katsikopoulos, Konstantinos V.
b97c23d9-8b24-4225-8da4-be7ac2a14fba

Pichert, Daniel and Katsikopoulos, Konstantinos V. (2008) Green defaults: Information presentation and pro-environmental behaviour. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 28, 63-73. (doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2007.09.004).

Record type: Article

Abstract

There is inconsistency in many people's choice of electricity. When asked, they say they prefer a ‘green’ (i.e., environmentally friendly) source for this energy. Yet, although green electricity is available in many markets, people do not generally buy it. Why not? Motivated by behavioural decision research, we argue that the format of information presentation drastically affects the choice of electricity. Specifically, we hypothesise that people use the kind of electricity that is offered to them as the default. We present two natural studies and two experiments in the laboratory that support this hypothesis. In the two real-world situations, there was a green default, and most people used it. In the first laboratory experiment, more participants chose the green utility when it was the default than when ‘grey’ electricity was the default. In the second laboratory experiment, participants asked for more money to give up green electricity than they were willing to pay for it. We argue that changing defaults can be used to promote pro-environmental behaviour. Potential policy-making applications of this work are discussed.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 7 October 2007
Published date: March 2008

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Local EPrints ID: 415446
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/415446
PURE UUID: bccff42c-7a69-4b6a-bf80-eed2e9b1c862

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Date deposited: 10 Nov 2017 17:30
Last modified: 18 Nov 2019 18:33

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