On the Determinants of Pro-Environmental Behavior: A Literature Review and Guide for the Empirical Economist

Center for European, Governance, and Economic Development Research (CEGE), Number 350, October 2019

29 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2019

See all articles by Ann-Kathrin Blankenberg

Ann-Kathrin Blankenberg

University of Goettingen (Göttingen)

Harm Alhusen

University of Goettingen (Göttingen) - Institute for Small Business Economics

Date Written: February 21, 2019

Abstract

This paper provides a systematic review of current economic and psychological studies on the determinants of PEB published up to 2017. Our normative understanding and study of PEB can benefit from an integral review of these research traditions. Consequently, we identify various determinants of PEB that can be classified into four major types:

• Socio-demographic factors (personal capabilities)

• Attitudinal (psychological) factors

• Habits

• Contextual factors (individual, social and institutional)

Our paper shows that to understand the complex workings of PEB, it is no longer viable to study its determinants individually, but researchers must rather consider an interplay of these factors. In addition to the introduction of this inter-sectional approach, we show that measuring PEB in an adequate way requires the consideration of more than one or two distinct behaviors (multiple items) as the impact of the determinants differs depending on the analyzed behavior. PEB itself can also be distinguished into types of PEB (private vs public sphere behaviors, environmental activism). Additionally, our review gives an overview of the typical methodological approaches and systematizes the questions used to measure PEB. By combining results from economics and psychology, this work offers a starting point for a more inter-sectional and interdisciplinary understanding of PEB, and a guide for further empirical investigations.

Keywords: determinants of pro-environmental behavior, ecological economics, review

Suggested Citation

Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin and Alhusen, Harm, On the Determinants of Pro-Environmental Behavior: A Literature Review and Guide for the Empirical Economist (February 21, 2019). Center for European, Governance, and Economic Development Research (CEGE), Number 350, October 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3473702 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3473702

Ann-Kathrin Blankenberg (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Göttingen) ( email )

Wilhelmsplatz 1
Göttingen, 37073
Germany

Harm Alhusen

University of Goettingen (Göttingen) - Institute for Small Business Economics ( email )

Heinrich-Düker-Weg 6
Göttingen, 37073
Germany

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