Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Department of Economics, University of Oslo Memorandum

No 31/2003:
Green consumers and public policy: On socially contingent moral motivation

Karine Nyborg (), Richard B. Howarth () and Kjell Arne Brekke ()

Abstract: “Green” consumers appear to accept individual responsibility for public good provision. The propensity to take such responsibility may depend on beliefs about others’ behavior, even for consumers motivated by internalized moral norms, not by social sanctions. This can produce multiple equilibria, with either high or low demand for “green” products. Permanent increases in green consumption may be achieved through permanent or temporary taxes, or through advertising that temporarily influences beliefs about others’ behavior or about external effects. If a tax is interpreted as taking responsibility away from the individual, however, taxes can reduce the influence of moral motivation.

Keywords: Moral motivation; multiple Nash equilibria; green taxes; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: C72; D11; H41; Q20; (follow links to similar papers)

23 pages, August 10, 2003

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This paper is published as:
Nyborg, Karine, Richard B. Howarth and Kjell Arne Brekke, (2006), 'Green consumers and public policy: On socially contingent moral motivation', Resource and Energy Economics, Vol. 28, November, No. 4, pages 351-366

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