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Community Identification Moderating the Impact of Financial Incentives in a Natural Resource Dilemma

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Van Vugt, Mark
Date: 1999
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5696
Sector: Social Organization
Subject(s): community
natural resources
Abstract: "The role of community identification was investigated in determining the effect of different tariff systems on domestic resource use (i.e., water). To this end, over a nine month interval both consumption and survey data were collected in 278 households in the UK, 203 of which were on a variable tariff (i.e., charges are related to use) and 75 on a fixed tariff (i.e., charges are unrelated to use). Adopting a social dilemma approach, we expected a variable tariff, compared to a fixed tariff, to be associated with more sustainable water use, in particular in a period when resources were relatively short. Furthermore, in the absence of a financial incentive to conserve (fixed tariff), resource use was expected to be moderated by the extent to which people identified with their community. These hypotheses received substantial support and they were confirmed by an experimental study simulating the resource dilemma in a laboratory setting. The implications of these findings for the management of scarce natural resources in society are discussed."

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