Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 407–421 | Cite as

Conformity and the Demand for Environmental Goods

  • Fredrik Carlsson
  • Jorge H. García
  • Åsa Löfgren


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 

JEL Classification

C90 D12 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fredrik Carlsson
    • 1
  • Jorge H. García
    • 2
  • Åsa Löfgren
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsPontificia Universidad JaverianaBogotaColombia

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