Green lifestyles and subjective well-being: More about self-image than actual behavior?

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Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, ISSN: 0167-2681, Vol: 137, Page: 304-323

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Martin Binder; Ann-Kathrin Blankenberg
Elsevier BV
Economics, Econometrics and Finance; Business, Management and Accounting
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article description
Does environmentally-friendly behavior necessarily imply sacrifice? In the metric of subjective well-being, research has shown that green behavior and sustainable consumption are positively related to life satisfaction. We extend this research analyzing UKHLS household panel data for Great Britain, showing that this boost in life satisfaction is mostly due to self-image (i.e. one's own assessment of how environmentally-friendly one's behavior is) but not due to concrete pro-environmental behaviors such as conserving water, recycling and so on. We further show that green self-image increases the extent and intensity of green behavior yet even the greenest (self-identified) individuals do not consistently exhibit all pro-environmental behaviors. By this, our data can be used to assess the varying extent of a value-action gap for different pro-environmental behaviors for our sample.