Consumer Behavior and Sustainable Development in China: The Role of Behavioral Sciences in Environmental Policymaking

8(9) Sustainability 897 (2016)

Posted: 7 Sep 2016 Last revised: 20 Jan 2021

See all articles by Fernando Dias Simões

Fernando Dias Simões

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

China’s astonishing economic development over the last decades has produced a momentous impact on the country’s environmental equilibrium. Chinese officials are now confronted with the need to tackle environmental problems without disrupting the country’s development. The Chinese government seems keen on striking a balance between these two apparently contradictory goals by promoting the concept of “ecological civilization”, a notion that emphasizes the importance of individual behavior. Over the last few years, environmental policymaking worldwide has been giving a lower profile to the role of the State and placing increasing responsibility for many environmental issues on citizens/consumers. Individuals are increasingly perceived as agents for environmental change and their behaviors are subject to tighter scrutiny. Due to the emergence of a consumer society in China, individual behaviors are increasingly a source of environmental problems and a key component of efficient and long-lasting solutions. Accordingly, Chinese policymakers should recognize the environmental significance of individual behaviors and look beyond traditional policy tools. This article argues that Behavioral Sciences can offer important lessons and help in designing new strategies that can speak directly to the Chinese people as a source of environmental harm, thus reducing their impact on the environment.

Keywords: China, environmental policy, sustainable development, ecological civilization, consumer behavior, behavioral sciences

Suggested Citation

Dias Simões, Fernando, Consumer Behavior and Sustainable Development in China: The Role of Behavioral Sciences in Environmental Policymaking (2016). 8(9) Sustainability 897 (2016), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2835363

Fernando Dias Simões (Contact Author)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Faculty of Law ( email )

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Shatin, New Territories
Kowloon, Sha Tin
Hong Kong

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.cuhk.edu.hk/app/people/prof-fernando-dias-simoes/

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