A Light Bulb Goes On: Norms, Rhetoric, and Actions for the Public Good

A Light Bulb Goes On: Norms, Rhetoric, and Actions for the Public Good This paper explores whether invoking social norms, in the context of a persuasive appeal, affects individuals’ willingness to take action for the public good. The framework I develop brings together a host of factors treated as distinct in past work, including attitudes, rhetoric, and social norms. I test predictions from this framework in an experiment that focuses on a particularly important behavior—actions regarding the consumption of energy. I find that highlighting norms in the context of an appeal for energy conservation increases the importance individuals’ associate with these actions, intentions to conserve energy, and actual behavior on a light-bulb purchasing decision. The findings have implications more generally for understanding when individuals take actions that promote the public good. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

A Light Bulb Goes On: Norms, Rhetoric, and Actions for the Public Good

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Social Sciences, general; Political Science, general; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-011-9186-5
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper explores whether invoking social norms, in the context of a persuasive appeal, affects individuals’ willingness to take action for the public good. The framework I develop brings together a host of factors treated as distinct in past work, including attitudes, rhetoric, and social norms. I test predictions from this framework in an experiment that focuses on a particularly important behavior—actions regarding the consumption of energy. I find that highlighting norms in the context of an appeal for energy conservation increases the importance individuals’ associate with these actions, intentions to conserve energy, and actual behavior on a light-bulb purchasing decision. The findings have implications more generally for understanding when individuals take actions that promote the public good.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Nov 13, 2011

References

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