Decision and justification in the social dilemma of recycling. II. Empirical tests of predictions from the model

Mikiko Shinoki, Kunihiro Kimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In Kimura and Shinoki (2007), after criticizing Diekmann and Preisendörfer's (1998; 2003) argument on the cognitive strategies to harmonize the discrepancy between attitudes and behaviors, we constructed a two-stage model of decision-making (rational choice) and justification (cognitive dissonance reduction) in a potential "social dilemma" situation, focusing on the problem of recycling. We deduced several propositions from our model and translated some of them into falsifiable predictions. In this paper, we analyze data from a social survey conducted in Sendai, Japan, in order to test these predictions: (1) On average, contributors' estimate of others' contribution is greater than non-contributors' estimate of others' contribution (the "false consensus effect"); (2) The proportion of the contributors who think that their marginal contribution plays a significant role in the well-functioning of the recycling system is greater than that of the non-contributors who think that their marginal contribution plays a significant role in the well-functioning of the recycling system; (3) On average, the normative consciousness concerning environmental problems is stronger among contributors than among non-contributors. We find that our predictions are almost supported. We also conduct a "critical experiment" in the natural settings on the mechanisms for the false consensus effect. The result reveals that our model is better than the selective exposure hypothesis in explaining it. We examine some possible objections to our model in order to consider what kind of research we need and to clarify the policy implication of our model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-69
Number of pages21
JournalSociological Theory and Methods
Volume22
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Aug 29

Keywords

  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Efficacy
  • False consensus effect
  • Pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors
  • Rational choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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