MOTIVATION CROWDING IN REAL CONSUMPTION DECISIONS: WHO IS MESSING WITH MY GROCERIES?

Authors

  • GRISCHA PERINO,

    1. Perino: School of Business, Economics and Social Sciences, University of Hamburg, Welckerstr. 8, Hamburg 20354, Germany. Phone +49 40 42838-8767, E-mail grischa.perino@wiso.uni-hamburg.de
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  • LUCA A. PANZONE,

    1. Panzone: Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester, 188 Waterloo Place, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK. Phone +44 (0)161 27 54275, E-mail luca.panzone@manchester.ac.uk
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  • TIMOTHY SWANSON

    1. Swanson: Centre for International Environmental Studies, Graduate Institute Geneva, PO Box 136, 1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland. Phone +41 22 908 62 17, E-mail tim.swanson@graduateinstitute.ch
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    • We are grateful to Denise Leung (University College London), who did excellent work in the data collection process, and the supermarket chain Sainsbury's for permission to run the experiment in their stores. We are indebted to the FP7 project EU-POPP (www.eupopp.net) for providing the funding required for the field experiment. We gratefully acknowledge comments from the editor, two anonymous referees, participants of EU-POPP project meetings, seminar participants at the universities of Beijing, East Anglia, Heidelberg, Lüneburg, and Manchester, and participants at the 2011 AERE and EAERE annual conferences.


Abstract

We present evidence of crowding out of intrinsic motivation in real purchasing decisions from a field experiment in a large supermarket chain. We compare three instruments, a label, a subsidy, and a neutral price change, in their ability to induce consumers to switch from dirty to clean products. Interestingly, a subsidy framed as an intervention is less effective than either a label or a neutrally framed price change. We argue that this provides a new explanation for crowding behavior: consumers are resistant to having the line of demarcation between public and private decision making moved in either direction. (JEL C93, Q18, Q54, Q58, H23, H41)

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