Internal and External Influences on Pro-environmental Behavior: Participation in a Green Electricity Program

Clark, C., Kotchen, M., & Moore, M. (2003). Internal and external influences on pro-environmental behavior: Participation in a green electricity program. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 23(3), 237-246. doi:10.1016/S0272-4944(02)00105-6.

This paper integrates themes from psychology and economics to analyze pro-environmental behavior. Increasingly, both disciplines share an interest in understanding internal and external influences on behavior. In this study, we analyze data from a mail survey of participants and non-participants in a premium-priced, green electricity program. Internal variables consist of a newly developed scale for altruistic attitudes based on the Schwartz norm-activation model, and a modified version of the New Ecological Paradigm scale to measure environmental attitudes. External variables consist of household income and standard sociodemographic characteristics. The two internal variables and two external variables are significant in a logit model of the decision to participate in the program. We then focus on participants in the program and analyze their specific motives for participating. These include motives relating to several concerns: ecosystem health, personal health, environmental quality for residents in southeastern Michigan, global warming, and warm-glow (or intrinsic) satisfaction. In a statistical ranking of the importance of each motive, a biocentric motive ranks first, an altruistic motive ranks second, and an egoistic motive ranks third.

Find this article online
Site Courtesy of
McKenzie-Mohr & Associates

Expertise in Community-Based Social Marketing