The existing literature on eco-labeling and green consumerism has been framed within a classical market context where price and quality are the drivers of consumer choice. However, it seems possible that consumers are also concerned about the choices made by other consumers. In fact, it is unclear that people’s consumption decisions are made independently of social context. For instance, under the desire to conform to certain social norms—or in the presence of status concerns—some individuals may be willing to pay a higher price premium for green products the more widespread green consumerism is in society. We test this hypothesis using a choice experiment where the respondents were asked to choose among coffee products varying with respect to their share of ecological beans, share of fair trade beans, and price. Three treatments were used, differing only in the information given about the choices made by other consumers. We find different responses to the treatments across individuals and we can only confirm our hypothesis of conformity for women, although men appear to have stronger preferences for ecological coffee than women have.
Conformity Choice experiments Environmental goods
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Albrecht J, Björklund A, Vroman S (2003) Is there a glass ceiling in sweden?. J Lab Econ 21: 145–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Alpizar F, Carlsson F, Martinsson P (2003) Using choice experiments for non-market valuation. Econ Issues 8: 83–110Google Scholar
Alpizar F, Carlsson F, Johansson-Stenman O (2005) How much do we care about absolute versus relative income and consumption?. J Econ Behav Organ 56: 405–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Alpizar F, Carlsson F, Johansson-Stenman O (2008) Anonymity, reciprocity, and conformity: evidence from voluntary contributions to a national park in costa rica. J Public Econ 92: 1047–1060CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Amacher G, Koskela E, Ollikainen M (2004) Environmental quality competition and eco-labeling. J Environ Econ Manag 47: 284–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Andreoni J, Vesterlund L (2001) Which is the fair sex? Gender differences in altruism. Q J Econ 116: 293–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arnot C, Boxall P, Cash S (2006) Do ethical consumers care about price? A revealed preference analysis of fair trade coffee purchases. Can J Agri Econ 54: 555–565CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bacon C (2005) Confronting the coffee crisis: can fair trade, organic, and specialty coffees reduce small-scale farmer vulnerability in northern nicaragua?. World Dev 33: 491–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bardsley N, Sausgruber R (2005) Conformity and reciprocity in public good provision. J Econ Psych 26: 664–681CrossRefGoogle Scholar