Managing Natural Resource Dilemmas through Structural Change: The Psychological Effects of Water Metering

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Date
1997
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Abstract
"This chapter examines the behavioral and psychological effects of a structural intervention in a natural resource dilemma — the implementation of water meters. Based upon social-psychological research into social dilemmas, it is proposed that metering helps to promote efficient resource management, first, because it gives households a direct financial incentive to conserve. In addition, there are numerous psychological side-benefits associated with this structural change. For example, metering increases the personal efficacy to conserve as well as enhances concerns with responsible resource use. Moreover, metering is likely to raise expectations about others' conservation efforts and is considered to be socially more fair. We wil l present evidence from different studies, showing the beneficial effects of metering in promoting conservation, particularly during a resource crisis. Our analysis has important implications for the development of theories and programs to promote resource management."
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social dilemmas, structural adjustment, water resources, conservation, technology, psychology
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