Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Environmentalism in the light of Behavioral Economics

Halkos, George and Gkargkavouzi, Anastasia (2024): Environmentalism in the light of Behavioral Economics.

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Behavioral environmental economics (BEE) is an emerging field that combines principles from behavioral and environmental economics along with psychological theory to study how human behavior influences environmental issues. It recognizes that human behavior often deviates from the rational actor model assumed in traditional environmental economics and seeks to understand the psychological, social, and emotional factors that influence people's decisions related to the environment. By gaining insights intothe human decision-making mechanism, BEE can better explain economically relevant environmental behavior and increase the predictive power of existing models. The fieldguidesthe design of effective and tailored-specific policy interventions that work with human behavioral tendencies, such as using defaults, framing, and social reinforcement to "nudge" people toward environmentally friendly choices. While behavioral insights can complement traditional policy tools, broader reforms are also needed to achieve sustainability. New trends derived from interdisciplinary research combining Environmental Psychology and Behavioral Economics are discussed. Overall, BEE offers a more realistic understanding of human decision-making and can help maximize the environmental benefits achieved through limited resources.

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