On the Relationship between Pro-Environmental Behavior, Experienced Monetary Costs, and Psychological Gains
Journal article, 2019
Drawing on the emerging scarcity, abundance, and sufficiency (SAS) framework, this study explores how various consumer behaviors with potential environmental impacts relate to subjective evaluations of psychological resources such as economic resources, time, social networks, and emotional support. Assuming that individuals may "trade" the costs and efforts of green consumption, including the buying of eco-labeled goods, altered eating habits, and choice of transportation mode, against such psychological resources, we investigate the relationships between green consumer choices and resource evaluations using hierarchical regression analysis of data from an online panel survey. The results suggest that green consumer behaviors are positively related to subjectively evaluated resources such as feelings of economic sufficiency and other, more "relational" resources, including social networks and emotional support. Performing such behaviors may therefore lead to psychological gains. These findings do paint a rather positive picture of environmental behaviors, since they may thus be viewed as having a personal positive trade-off. Although directional effects cannot be firmly established, our study suggests that pro-environmental behavior may increase wellbeing and experienced prosperity. Future studies should further investigate these causalities and implications of these suggested relationships.