30 Pages Posted: 18 May 2012 Last revised: 6 Dec 2015
Date Written: 2015
Surveys indicate that a majority of consumers would prefer to buy products made in environmentally sustainable ways, rather than alternatives, and would even be willing to pay a premium for such products. Many firms are now using environmental certifications and product labeling to market goods and services, but there is no clear evidence that environmentalism has a strong impact on actual purchasing decisions by consumers. We provide new evidence on consumer behavior from two large-scale field experiments conducted with Gap Inc. in 419 retail stores and 155 outlet stores. We find that labels with information about a program to reduce water pollution in facilities laundering denim jeans as part of the manufacturing process had a substantial positive effect on sales among female shoppers in retail stores, increasing sales by 8%. Among male shoppers and in outlet stores, however, the labels had no discernable impact on sales.
Keywords: environmentalism, consumer behaviour, field experiments
JEL Classification: D12, C93
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Hainmueller, Jens and Hiscox, Michael J., Buying Green? Field Experimental Tests of Consumer Support for Environmentalism (2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2062429 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2062429