ScienceDirect – Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions : Effects of third-party information on the demand for more sustainable consumption: A choice experiment on the transition of winter tourism

November 15, 2011

ScienceDirect – Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions : Effects of third-party information on the demand for more sustainable consumption: A choice experiment on the transition of winter tourism.

Tobias Luthe and Felix Schläpfer

 

Abstract

Sustainability transitions involve a dynamic interaction of regulation, innovation, and preferences for new products. In this study we examine consumer preferences as a potential driver of supply side innovations in the winter tourism industry. We use a novel survey approach that allows for heuristic decision-making based on information from third parties. Specifically, we investigate consumer preferences when (i) only factual information and (ii) factual informationand environmental NGO or consumer recommendations are available. The third-party information significantly affected the destination choices in about one third of the examined choice sets. The results indicate a willingness to pay for some of the examined sustainability attributes, and they point to specific differences among different tourist groups. Regarding methodology we suggest that survey experiments involving third-party information are useful for the study of choices about product or policy innovations in dynamic markets where standard assumptions on preferences and rationality may not apply.

Highlights

► We use a choice experiment to examine the demand for sustainable consumption as a driver of innovations in the winter tourism industry. ► Two additional experimental treatments examine the role of third-party information on choice behavior. ► Preferences for sustainable tourism services were significantly affected by third-party information. ► We find a positive willingness for some but not all examined sustainability attributes. ► Social information warrants further attention in the study of preferences for innovations.

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