Conference article

The Effects of Rewards on Spillover in Environmental Behaviours: Monetary vs Praise Rewards

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Published: 2014-08-21

ISBN: 978-91-7519-289-5

ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


The paper focuses on the so-called spillover effect in the environmental domain; or the tendency of individuals adopting a specific green behaviour to behave environment-friendly also in other; not related contexts. Different psychological mechanisms explaining this process have been singled out in literature (e.g.: Self Perception Theory; Cognitive Dissonance Theory; etc). However; there is no general agreement neither on the strength nor on the drivers of spillover. The study provides a value added to literature by analyzing the role played by specific factors (so far neglected) in hindering or spurring spillover: monetary and non-monetary rewards. A real-life experiment is carried out on a sample of undergraduate students from Aarhus University (Denmark); based on a panel study with online surveys filled in twice: before and after the experimental intervention. The latter consists of encouraging the uptake of a specific green behaviour (purchase of sustainable products) for a period of 6 weeks; investigating the effects on different behavioural domains and the role played by incentives. Results show how the nature of incentives has a relevant direct impact on the behaviours being incentivized; whereas no significant spillover effect to other behavioural domains is detected.


Spillover; Sustainability; Rewards; Motivation


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