Neutralization Strategies Account for the Concern-Behavior Gap in Renewable Energy Usage ? Evidence from Panel Data from Germany

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Environmental concern in the form of pro-environmental attitudes and normative expectations often serve as explanatory variables of pro-environmental behavior, but the evidence on their impact on pro-environmental action remains inconclusive. Instead of focusing under which conditions individuals reveal their preferences for environmentalism (e.g. only in low cost situations), this article provides empirical evidence for the role of neutralization techniques to account for the lack of pro-environmental actions. We use representative panel data on renewable energy usage from a total of five panel waves collected in Germany during the years 2015 to 2019 to show that neutralizations moderate the effects of both environmental concerns and normative expectations of families and peers. For individuals who have learned neutralization techniques, neither environmental concerns nor normative expectations play a role as determinants of renewable energy usage. Therefore, the availability and salience of such neutralization techniques can contribute to the explanation of the concern-behavior gap.


Original languageEnglish
Article number103041
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Issue number103041
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85150443955
ORCID /0000-0001-6728-4288/work/142251124


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