Social Interaction in Responsibility Ascription: The Case of Household Recycling

Brekke, K.A., G. Kipperberg and K. Nyborg

Published in:

Land Economics, November, vol. 86 no. 4, pp. 766-784


Duty-orientation implies a warm glow of giving as well as a cold shiver of not giving enough. If duty-oriented consumers learn their moral responsibility by observing others’ behavior, social interaction in contribution behavior arises. However, since moral responsibility is a burden, duty-oriented consumers may be less willing to accept responsibility if their information about others’ behavior is uncertain. Data from a survey on households’ glass recycling indicates that perceived responsibility is a major determinant for reported recycling, that responsibility ascription is influenced by beliefs about others’ behavior, and that people are, indeed, reluctant to accept responsibility based on uncertain information.

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Published Nov. 4, 2010 2:09 PM - Last modified Dec. 14, 2015 2:36 PM