Signaling can increase consumers' willingness to pay for green products. Theoretical model and experimental evidence

Berger, Joël (2019). Signaling can increase consumers' willingness to pay for green products. Theoretical model and experimental evidence. Journal of consumer behaviour, 18(3), pp. 233-246. Wiley 10.1002/cb.1760

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Many green products are costlier than their nongreen counterparts, for a variety of reasons. This “green premium” is a key challenge marketers face when targeting con- sumers with these green products. A potential solution to this issue is provided by sig- naling theory. According to the theory, green products can have a signaling benefit. This benefit acts as an incentive for consumers to pay a premium for environmentally friendly products that can even out their price disadvantage (the green signaling hypothesis). Previous studies have tested the green signaling hypothesis with hypo- thetical buying decisions. The research at hand tests the green signaling hypothesis with incentive‐compatible purchase decisions in a laboratory setting with student subjects. As predicted, subjects exhibit a higher willingness to pay for green products when the product choice (a nongreen product vs. a costlier green counterpart) is pub- lic rather than private. The results also suggest that green signalers are treated more favorably in social interactions. The main result is that a signaling benefit can even out moderate green premiums. One implication of this is the idea that marketers should design green products that are costlier than their nongreen counterparts in a way that renders them clearly recognizable as green. At the same time, marketers should avoid marketing everyday green products with a high green premium.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology

UniBE Contributor:

Berger, Joël

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services

ISSN:

1472-0817

Publisher:

Wiley

Funders:

[4] Swiss National Science Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Dr. Joël Berger

Date Deposited:

08 Apr 2019 18:28

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 00:13

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/cb.1760

Uncontrolled Keywords:

signaling, green consumption, experiment, willingness to pay

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.126794

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/126794

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