The role of framing and effort in green nudging acceptance

Grelle, Sonja / Sascha Kuhn / Hanna Fuhrmann-Riebel / Wilhelm Hofmann
External Publications (2024)

in: Behavioural Public Policy, first published 05.04.2024

Open access

Whether nudges succeed in promoting pro-environmental behavior strongly depends on their public acceptance. Prior literature shows that the framing of nudges, i.e., whether they address the individual (personal framing) or the society (societal framing), is one critical factor in determining nudging acceptance. Since a personal framing highlights the costs individuals have to bear to comply, we hypothesize that people accept nudges more when addressing the general public rather than themselves personally. We expect the framing effect to be stronger for nudges that elicit high-effort behavior than low-effort behavior. Results of multilevel linear regression analyses in two online experiments (nStudy 1 = 294, nobs = 4,410; nStudy 2 = 565, nobs = 11,300) reveal an opposite pattern: People accept nudges more when personally (vs societally) framed. As predicted, nudges receive higher support when the promoted behavior is perceived as low effort. Exploratory path analysis in Study 2 shows that the perceived effectiveness of the nudge mediates the positive relation between personal framing and nudging acceptance. This project provides novel insights on facilitators and barriers in nudging acceptance and their implications for policy-making.

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