Greening Household Behaviour

The Role of Public Policy

image of Greening Household Behaviour

Developing growth strategies that promote greener lifestyles requires a good understanding of what factors affect people’s behaviour towards the environment. Recent OECD work based on periodic surveys of more than 10 000 households across a number of countries and areas represents a breakthrough by providing a common framework to collect unique empirical evidence for better policy design.

This publication presents responses from the most recent round of the OECD survey implemented in 2011 in 5 areas (energy, food, transport, waste and water) and 11 countries: Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Analysis comparing the data across countries, policy conditions and households’ characteristics reveals which measures most effectively change behaviour. Each round of the survey also allows to track changes over time and to explore new emerging issues.  

The new survey confirms the importance of providing the right economic incentives for influencing our decisions. The findings indicate that “soft” measures such as labelling and public information campaigns also have a significant complementary role to play. Spurring desirable behaviour change requires a mix of these instruments. 

This book is a milestone for all those interested by the challenging question of ways to promote greener behaviour, from policy makers to individual citizens.  

English Also available in: French

Residential Energy Use

Growing world energy demand, including from the residential sector, is putting increasing pressure on the environment and is key to addressing climate change. This chapter looks at the effect of measures available to policy makers to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. These range from economic incentives, such as energy taxation or grants for investment in solar panels, to energy efficiency labelling and communication campaigns. The main factors influencing energy-saving behaviour at home and affecting investments in energy-efficiency equipments are analysed, with particular attention paid to the role of energy pricing. The role of respondents’ level of environmental concern is considered. The chapter also examines the determinants of demand for renewable energy and how much more households are willing to pay to use renewable energy.

English Also available in: French

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