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EMAC 2023 Annual

Self-control failures in pro-environmental behavior under uncertainty

Published: May 24, 2023


Sai Prashanth RAMACHANDRAN, Toulouse School of Management; Camilla Barbarossa, Toulouse Business School; Laurent Bertrandias, Toulouse Business School


Consumers today are surrounded by external threats (e.g., pandemic, war, recession). Such threats instill uncertainties making lives tougher than the normal. Drawing upon time inconsistent preferences and establishing pro-environmental behavior as a long-term goal, we investigate if the negative effect of uncertainty on pro-environmental behavior is due to self-control failure. Across two experimental studies, we show that consumers are more likely to violate their pro-environmental long-term (vs. short-term) goal under high uncertainty (Study 1). Furthermore, this violation happens even when consumers are presented with a self-control conflict (i.e., protecting natural environment vs. gaining instant pleasure) as consumers express higher levels of anticipated regret due to long-term goal violation under high uncertainty (vs. low uncertainty). We contribute to the emerging literature on consumers under threat and temporal dimension of pro-environmental behavior.