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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Psychological Rebound-Effects A Conceptualization and Research Directions

Published: May 27, 2020


Hanna Reimers, Kiel University; Wassili Lasarov, Kiel University; Stefan Hoffmann, Kiel University


Indirect Rebound-Effects; Psychological Rebound-Effects; Moral Licensing


The hope to achieve sustainable development goals by implementing energy-efficiency improvements has repeatedly been disenchanted, because an increase in resource and energy efficiency through technical innovations often leads to rebound effects. Previous literature mainly focused on monetary-induced direct rebound effects on a macro-economic level, but also stressed the importance of individual drivers and indirect rebound effects, which need to be studied in future research. To address this issue, the present paper develops a conceptual framework of psychological rebound-effects. We introduce three dimensions, which help conceptualize these effects: (1) trigger of rebound, which varies from purely efficiency based to purely sufficiency based rebounds (2) product category, which varies from rebounds in the same product category to rebound in different product categories, and (3) consumption context, which varies from the same to a different context. Based on this conceptualization we outline six propositions and promising directions for future studies.