Factors influencing the effectiveness and acceptability of environmental policy

Nadja Zeiske, Elliot Sharpe, Geertje Schuitema, Carla Rodriguez Sanchez, Julia Steinhorst

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


To reach the targets set in the Paris climate agreement, environmental policy interventions are required to promote behaviour change on a broad scale. A key question here is how to design policies that are both effective at promoting behaviour change and acceptable to the public. This symposium will discuss which individual factors, such as values, and policy characteristics, such as framing, affect the effectiveness and acceptability of policy.
Geertje Schuitema and Carla Rodriguez Sanchez will explore the role of emotions in the acceptability of water charges introduced in Ireland. They will discuss how the strength of positive or negative emotions, such as anger, can predict the acceptability of policies with personal financial implications. They will discuss the importance of focussing on affective factors, rather than purely rational arguments, in policy communication.
Julia Steinhorst will present on how promoting pro-environmental behaviour in the private sphere may promote pro-environmental behaviour in the public sphere, such as policy support. Specifically, she will discuss how the framing of energy-saving messages can affect domestic energy saving behaviour. In particular, she will provide insights into how these framing effects not only influence targeted behaviour but may also spill over to policy support.
Daniel Schwartz’s presentation will focus on the effects of different types of incentives on domestic pro-environmental behaviours. In particular, he will discuss the effectiveness of different financial strategies, including charity donations and non-contingent payments, on recycling behaviour. He will also discuss the effectiveness of strategies such as discounts and self-labelling techniques in the context of reusable carrier bag use.
Nadja Zeiske will discuss the motivational impacts of policy framing within the context of sustainable travel behaviour. She will present her research on how different incentives (financial and non-financial) in combination with individual factors, notably values and identity, can influence engagement in sustainable travel behaviour. Particularly, Nadja will focus on how the framing of incentives can affect people’s intrinsic motivation to travel with sustainable modes of transport.
Andreas Nilsson will present his research on the effectiveness of value-matching appeals in facilitating positive responses to policy. Within the context of congestion charging, he will discuss how targeting policy interventions towards people’s personal values may not always increase policy acceptability. Andreas will also discuss the relative effectiveness of anthropocentric versus ecocentric arguments in policy communication.
Elliot Sharpe will discuss how people may intuitively respond to energy policy based on how the energy policy is expected to impact on people’s important personal values. He will elaborate on how people are motivated to rationalise these initial reactions by forming beliefs about the effectiveness of energy policy. On the basis of this, he will explain why rational arguments about the effectiveness of energy policy may not be successful at promoting acceptability.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventInternational Conference on Environmental Psychology - A Coruña, A Coruña, Spain
Duration: 30-Aug-20171-Sep-2017


ConferenceInternational Conference on Environmental Psychology
Abbreviated titleICEP 2017
CityA Coruña
Internet address

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