Author Response to: The Attitude–Action Gap: Toward a Better Understanding of “How Much is Enough?”


  • Correction added on 29 August 2012 after first publication on 13 August 2012. Due to an error during proofreading, some small changes have been made to this version of the article. The main changes are reflected in two minor language changes in the body of the article. We have indicated the location of the amended text using the following symbol §.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Tom Bowerman, Project Director, PolicyInteractive, 532 Olive Street, Eugene, Oregon 97401 [e-mail:].


In our target article (Markowitz & Bowerman 2011), we reported findings from a series of surveys suggesting that a large majority of Americans possess positive attitudes towards reducing consumption, with implications for individual and policy actions. Commentators Katherine Arbuthnott, Keith Brown, and Susan Clayton draw attention to both strengths and weaknesses in our target manuscript and raise important points about the role of consumption-related attitudes and norms in shaping behavior and policy. As readers following this prior discussion are aware, our initial research centered around a consistent finding regarding Oregonians’ attitudes towards consumption: across a series of state-wide surveys and in-depth interviews, we found that the vast majority of Oregonians agreed that “Our country would be better off if we all consumed less.” At the same time, we found decidedly mixed support regarding the translation of such “de-consumption” beliefs into actual behavior and policy preferences. All three of the commentators appear to share our own guarded optimism regarding the potential implications of these findings for confronting issues related to over-consumption (e.g., climate change). We are largely in agreement with the various points and critiques each raises and herein aim to offer an actionable response.