Interested, indifferent or active information avoider of climate labels: Cognitive dissonance and ascription of responsibility as motivating factors

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

Active avoidance of information is gaining attention in behavioral sciences, and recently also its’ relevance from an economic theory perspective. We explore motivations and policy implications of active avoidance of carbon emission information. In a stated preference survey respondents were asked to indicate if they wished to access carbon emission information (info-takers) or not (info-decliners) when selecting protein source in a first stage. In a second stage all respondents were provided carbon emission information. The info-takers reduced their CO2-emissions from their food choices with 32%, while the info-decliners also reduced their CO2 emissions (12%). This provides evidence of active information avoidance among at least some info-decliners. We explore cognitive dissonance and responsibility feelings and personal norms as motivations for actively avoiding carbon emission information on meat products, and how these motivations affect the reaction if imposed information. Our results show that carbon emission information increases choice task uncertainty most among individuals that experience climate related cognitive dissonance and/or responsibility feelings. These findings point to the potential of carbon emission information as a measure for changing food consumption towards less carbon emitting products. The study also highlights the importance of how the information is provided and presented.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • University of Copenhagen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economics

Keywords

  • Climate label;, information avoidance, Cognitive dissonance, carbon emission reduction, consumer behavior, strategic avoidance
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAgriFood Economics Centre
Pages1-30
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 13
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameAgriFood-WP
PublisherLund University, AgriFood Economics Centre
No.2020:1

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