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Can sustainable consumption trigger political activism? An empirical investigation of the crowding-in hypothesis

Vandermoere, Frédéric, Geerts, Robbe and Vanderstraeten, Raf (2020) Can sustainable consumption trigger political activism? An empirical investigation of the crowding-in hypothesis. Sustainability (Switzerland), 12 (21). pp. 1-13. ISSN 2071-1050

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Identification Number: 10.3390/su12219082


In this article, we address the question whether political act ivism can be triggered by sustainable consumption. Specific attention is given to the crowding-out and crowding-in hypotheses. The first hypothesis is driven by a conflict view as it assumes that sustainable consumerism displaces the willingness to act collectively. In contrast, the latter hypothesis— crowding-in—frames conscious consumption as a potential political act whereby individual sustainable consumption may trigger political acts such as signing a petition, demonstrating, and voting. To address this issue, German survey data were analyzed (n = 936). Our analysis appears to confirm the crowding-in hypothesis. However, the results of multiple logistic regression analyses also show that the relation between sustainable consumption and political activism depends on the type of political action. Particularly, sustainable consumption does not relate to traditional political actions such as voting, but it does relate positively to less conventional (e.g., attending a demonstration) and online forms of political engagement (e.g., social media activism). Our findings also indicate that the positive association between sustainable consumption and less conventional politics may be moderated by educational attainment, suggesting that it is weakest among less educated groups. The paper ends with the empirical and theoretical conclusions that can be drawn from this study, and indicates some directions for future research.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2022 15:21
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 03:46

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