Publikationen (FIS)

Setting New Behavioral Standards

Sustainability Pledges and How Conformity Impacts Their Outreach

verfasst von
Ann-Kathrin Koessler

Sustainability pledges are en vogue. In the business sector, but also in climate negotiations, pledges are used to signal actors’ intention to act pro-environmentally. Laboratory experiments testify to the potential effectiveness of these public declarations. Previous work has examined under which conditions subsequent trust and cooperation can flourish.
In this study, I postulate that also conformity is an important determinant for the effectiveness of pledges. In specific, I examine what role social influence plays in the decision to pledge. In a public good game, subjects can make prior play a pledge to contribute to the public good in the socially optimal way. Across treatment conditions, I vary the way in which the pledges are elicited. Hence, the degree of social influence on pledge making is manipulated and its impact can be examined.
I find that when individuals are aware that the majority of other subjects decided to pledge, they are likely to conform and also make the pledge. The emergence of such a critical mass can be stimulated when the elicitation of pledges is based on previous contribution behavior. Overall, this commitment nudge is effective. Both socially-oriented and previously not socially-oriented subjects modify their behavior after the pledge.

Externe Organisation(en)
Universität Osnabrück
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