Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Environmental labels may discourage conservatives from buying energy-efficient products

Date:
April 30, 2013
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
When it comes to deciding which light bulb to buy, a label touting the product's environmental benefit may actually discourage politically conservative shoppers.

When it comes to deciding which light bulb to buy, a label touting the product's environmental benefit may actually discourage politically conservative shoppers.

Related Articles


Dena Gromet and Howard Kunreuther at The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and Rick Larrick at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business conducted two studies to determine how political ideology affected a person's choice to buy energy-efficient products in the United States.

The authors suggest that financial incentives or emphasizing energy independence may be better ways to get people to buy energy-efficient products than appealing to environmental concerns because these represent unifying concerns that cross political boundaries.

Their paper, "Political Ideology Affects Energy-Efficient Attitudes and Choices," is published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"A popular strategy for marketing energy efficiency is to focus on its environmental benefits," said Gromet, the lead author on the studies. "But not everyone values protecting the environment. We were interested in whether promoting the environment could in fact deter some individuals from purchasing energy efficient options that they would have otherwise selected."

The first study surveyed 657 U.S. adults, 49 percent men, ranging in age from 19-81. Participants were given a short description of energy efficiency and answered questions about the psychological value they placed on reducing carbon dioxide emissions to protect the environment, reducing dependence on foreign oil and reducing the financial cost of energy use. They also indicated how much they favored investing in energy-efficient technology. Participants were asked about their political ideology, and how much they identified with different political parties.

The more conservative the participant, the less likely that person was to support investing in energy-efficient technology. The study found that this divide was primarily driven by the lower value that conservatives placed on reducing carbon emissions. The values of energy independence and reducing energy costs had more universal appeal.

The second study involved 210 participants, 61 percent female, who ranged in age from 18 to 66. Again, all participants gave information about their political ideologies. Participants were given $2 to spend on a light bulb and could keep whatever they did not spend.

They were then educated about the benefits of compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs over incandescent bulbs. (CFL bulbs last 9,000 more hours and reduce energy costs by 75 percent). Some of the CFL bulbs came with a sticker that said "Protect The Environment" while the others had a blank sticker.

In some cases, the CFL bulb was priced at $1.50, while the incandescent bulb was 50 cents. When the more expensive CFL came with no environmental label, liberals and conservatives selected it at roughly the same high frequency. However, when the more expensive CFL bulb also was accompanied by a "protect the environment" sticker, participants who identified as more politically moderate or conservative were less likely to buy it.

For other participants, both incandescent and CFL bulbs were priced at 50 cents. All but one of these participants bought the CFL bulb regardless of the sticker, indicating that everyone was attracted to a good economic deal regardless of their political leanings.

"The environmental aspect of energy efficiency has an ideologically polarizing impact that can undermine demand for energy-efficient technology, specifically among more politically conservative individuals," Kunreuther said. "On a more positive note, the results of the second study indicate that focusing on the nature of the message coupled with economic incentives should promote investment in energy-efficient products."

"These findings demonstrate that a one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to be successful for making energy-efficient products appealing to consumers," Larrick said. "People have different energy-related values which can influence their choices, including leading them to reject options that they recognize as having long-term economic benefits. In many cases, a tailored message may be needed to reach different market segments."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. M. Gromet, H. Kunreuther, R. P. Larrick. Political ideology affects energy-efficiency attitudes and choices. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1218453110

Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Environmental labels may discourage conservatives from buying energy-efficient products." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430131618.htm>.
Duke University. (2013, April 30). Environmental labels may discourage conservatives from buying energy-efficient products. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430131618.htm
Duke University. "Environmental labels may discourage conservatives from buying energy-efficient products." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430131618.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

AP (Nov. 22, 2014) Hundreds of volunteers joined a 'shovel brigade' in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, as the city was living up to its nickname, "The City of Good Neighbors." Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins