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Study: Conservatives Less Likely to Buy Environmentally-Friendly Labeled Light Bulbs

A new study, published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, states that people who identify themselves as "conservatives" are far less likely to buy products that are labeled "environmentally friendly," but will buy the same products without the labeling, reports

“A popular strategy for marketing energy efficiency is to focus on its environmental benefits,” said Dena Gromet of the University of Pennsylvania, the lead author of the study,

“But not everyone values protecting the environment. We were interested in whether promoting the environment could in fact deter some individuals from purchasing energy efficient options that they would have otherwise selected.”

In the study, 210 participants were were given $2 to spend on a light bulb and could keep the money that they did not spend.

Liberal and conservative participants were educated about the scientific benefits of energy efficient compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs.

The people who described themselves as "conservative" were less likely to purchase a CFL bulb for $1.50 over an incandescent bulb for 50 cents, if the CFL bulb included a sticker that said “Protect The Environment.”

However, when the “Protect The Environment” label was removed from the CFL bulb, there was no significant difference between liberal and conservative buyers, reports the Herald Sun.

“These findings demonstrate that a one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to be successful for making energy-efficient products appealing to consumers,” said Rick Larrick of Duke University, a co-author of the study.

“People have different energy-related values which can influence their choices, including leading them to reject options that they recognize as having long-term economic benefits. In many cases, a tailored message may be needed to reach different market segments.”

Sources: Herald Sun and


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