The paper uses Italian official survey data collected in 2012 from more than 20 thousand households to shed light on the determinants of people's pro-environmental behavior, more specifically the differentiation of domestic waste disposal. A rich interdisciplinary literature has developed to explain why people may make eco-friendly choices, which come at a personal cost and provide benefits accruing largely to other people. The paper contributes to this investigation by jointly considering non-economic (a declared general interest in environmental issues), economic (easy access to recycling bins) and contextual (the perceived condition of the local environment) determinants of recycling. The results show that a higher general interest in environmental issues is associated with an increase in recycling of 7.5 percentage points, while easy access to facilities is associated with an increase in recycling of 5.3 percentage points. More educated households are also more inclined to behave pro-environmentally: a university degree or a Ph.D. is associated with an increase in the probability of recycling of 5.2 percentage points. Finally, the paper provides evidence that locally perceiving environmental degradation is associated with a 5.8 percentage points decrease in the likelihood of recycling. This last result may be explained by bounded rationality and/or conditional social cooperation, which both may lead to an environmental poverty trap. The final message is that the evidence gathered is difficult to reconcile with the "homo oeconomicus"hypothesis still prevailing in standard economic theory and that non-economic determinants have to be properly considered in the formulation of effective environmental policies.

Pro-environmental attitudes, local environmental conditions and recycling behavior

Fazio, A
;
2022

Abstract

The paper uses Italian official survey data collected in 2012 from more than 20 thousand households to shed light on the determinants of people's pro-environmental behavior, more specifically the differentiation of domestic waste disposal. A rich interdisciplinary literature has developed to explain why people may make eco-friendly choices, which come at a personal cost and provide benefits accruing largely to other people. The paper contributes to this investigation by jointly considering non-economic (a declared general interest in environmental issues), economic (easy access to recycling bins) and contextual (the perceived condition of the local environment) determinants of recycling. The results show that a higher general interest in environmental issues is associated with an increase in recycling of 7.5 percentage points, while easy access to facilities is associated with an increase in recycling of 5.3 percentage points. More educated households are also more inclined to behave pro-environmentally: a university degree or a Ph.D. is associated with an increase in the probability of recycling of 5.2 percentage points. Finally, the paper provides evidence that locally perceiving environmental degradation is associated with a 5.8 percentage points decrease in the likelihood of recycling. This last result may be explained by bounded rationality and/or conditional social cooperation, which both may lead to an environmental poverty trap. The final message is that the evidence gathered is difficult to reconcile with the "homo oeconomicus"hypothesis still prevailing in standard economic theory and that non-economic determinants have to be properly considered in the formulation of effective environmental policies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11571/1460831
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