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Who pays more (or less) for pro-environmental consumer goods? Using the auction method to assess actual willingness-to-pay

Journal of Environmental Psychology
DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2014.06.010
  • Willingness-To-Pay
  • Experimental Auction
  • Market Segmentation
  • Pro-Environmental Behavior
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Psychology


Abstract The purpose of this study was to measure consumers' actual willingness-to-pay (WTP) for pro-environmental (PE) and non-PE products through a controlled experimental auction. Ninety-eight individuals from the Northeastern U.S. participated in an auction and were segmented into groups based on whether they would pay a) more, b) about the same, or c) less for a PE product compared to an equivalent non-PE product. Demographic and psychological group profiles were comprised based on perceived product benefits, values, consequences of purchase behavior and demographics. Findings showed the majority of consumers would not pay more for PE offerings, suggesting that they may not view PE products as “normal.” Implications for shaping PE behavior of this neutral majority are addressed. Further, the need for researchers to collect actual behavioral data is emphasized, as this is of paramount importance in the environmental domain due to the well-known “action gap” between intentions and behavior.

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