Moderating spillover: Focusing on personal sustainable behavior rarely hinders and can boost climate policy support

Gregg Sparkman, Shahzeen Z. Attari, Elke U. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A successful climate movement must make progress on two fronts: widely adopting behavior changes to reduce emissions and achieving structural changes through climate policy. Some research has suggested people might see sustainable behavior as a substitute (rather than a complement) for climate policy. Does reflecting on sustainable behavior strengthen or undermine climate policy support? In the present research we find that reflecting on sustainable behavior rarely harms policy support. It only occurs when policies are framed as having costs fall on individuals (rather than industry) and when reflection on one's behavior is not connected to one's values or identity. Here, people may reject a policy because they feel they already are taking action. Conversely, reflecting on behaviors in connection to one's values or identity actually increases climate policy support, and leads people to feel that policies like a carbon tax, even if personally costly, reflect their values and identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102150
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Volume78
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Keywords

  • Carbon tax
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Consistency
  • Moral licensing
  • Policy support
  • Spillover

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