The effect of social comparison by Peers on Sustainable Consumption Behaviour among Dutch Adolescents when receiving a hypothetical starting capital: an online survey experiment

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An ongoing debate in the Netherlands about financial support for adolescents results in proponents who believe adolescents use financial resources sustainably out of self-responsibility and opponents who believe adolescents waste the financial resources on unsustainable purposes. This study looked at the influence of an educative nudge – in which sustainable consumption behaviour is conducted by peers with whom adolescents can socially compare – on the sustainable consumption behaviour and self-control of Dutch adolescents when receiving a hypothetical starting capital. Results showed that the educative nudge has a positive influence on the sustainable consumption behaviour of adolescents. Adolescents who received information of peers showing sustainable consumption behaviour spent more on sustainable consumption options. However, the influence of the educative nudge on self-control is ambiguous. Only when including relevant control factors the educative nudge does have a positive influence on the degree of self-control of adolescents. Considering the underlying sustainable consumption options that form together the concept of sustainable consumption behaviour, adolescents who received the educative nudge are more likely to save more as one of the underlying consumption options. These outcomes show adolescents make sustainable consumption decisions when receiving information about sustainable consumption behaviour through social influences of peers.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen