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Be who you ought or be who you are? Environmental framing and cognitive dissonance in going paperless

Gosnell, Greer (2017) Be who you ought or be who you are? Environmental framing and cognitive dissonance in going paperless. . London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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This paper explores the potential for environmental information and dissonance-inducing messaging to encourage resourceful behavior. We manipulate message framing to analyze behavioral motivators businesses may consider when encouraging customers—here, those with revealed environmental preferences—from paper to online communications. In a large-scale natural field experiment comprising 38,654 customers of a renewable energy provider, we randomize environmental information and messaging rooted in theories of cognitive dissonance in email communications promoting an active switch to paperless billing. We find that environmental information and imagery is ineffective in inducing behavior change. Interestingly, the dissonance-inducing messaging weakly improves uptake among our main sample but backfires among a subsample of individuals with extensive postgraduate education. Contrary to the majority of the literature on gender and environmental behavior, females in our sample are less likely to switch to paperless billing.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2017 07:32
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 12:11

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