Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
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GLRPPR Sector Resource: Cognitive Barriers to Environmental Action: Problems and Solutions

Title:
Cognitive Barriers to Environmental Action: Problems and Solutions

Abstract:
We explore interventions at the level of the individual and focus on recognized cognitive barriers from the behavioral decision-making literature. In particular, we highlight three cognitive barriers that impede sound individual decision making that have particular relevance to behaviors impacting the environment. First, despite claiming that they want to the leave the world in good condition for future generations, people intuitively discount the future to a greater degree than can be rationally defended. Second, positive illusions lead us to conclude that energy problems do not exist or are not severe enough to merit action. Third, we interpret events in a self-serving manner, a tendency that causes us to expect others to do more than we do to solve energy problems. We then propose ways in which these biases could actually be used to our advantage in steering ourselves toward better judgment. Finally, we outline the key questions on the research frontier from the behavioral decision-making perspective, and debunk the myth that behavioral and neoclassical economic perspectives need be in conflict.

URL:
http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/11-046.pdf

Source:
Harvard Business School Working Paper Series ; 11-046

Resource Type:
Article/report

Date of Publication:
2010

Associated Sectors:

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