Theorizing the Behavioral Dimension of Energy Consumption

Title: Theorizing the Behavioral Dimension of Energy Consumption
Format: Working Paper
Publication Date: January 2018
Published In: Energy and Society Handbook

This chapter focuses on the well-documented misalignment between energy-related behaviors and the personal values of consumers, which has become a major source of angst among
policymakers. Despite widespread pro-environmental or green attitudes, consumers frequently purchase non-green alternatives. The chapter identifies 50 theoretical approaches that can be
divided almost equally into two types: those that emphasize beliefs, attitudes, and values; and those that also consider contextual factors and social norms. Three principles of intervention are recommended: provide credible and targeted information at points of decision; identify and address the key factors inhibiting and promoting the target behaviours in particular populations; and rigorously evaluate programes to provide credible estimates of impact and opportunities for improvements. The chapter recommends that research on the value-action gap be expanded beyond the traditional focus on individuals to include decision-making units such as households, boards of directors, commercial buying units, and government procurement groups.

Ivan Allen College Contributors:
External Contributors: Benjamin K. Sovacool

Brown, Marilyn A. and Sovacool, Benjamin K. “Energy Efficiency: The Value-Action GapEnergy and Society Handbook, Oxford University Press, Co-Editors: Debra J. Davidson and Matthias Gross, forthcoming.

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Energy Markets
Related File: Theorizing the Behavioral Dimension of Energy Consumption.pdf
Related Departments:
  • Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory
  • School of Public Policy