Effects of Monetary Versus Environmental Information Framing: Implications for Long-Term Pro-Environmental Behavior and Intrinsic Motivation
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEnvironment and Behavior. 2018, 50 (9), 997-1031. 10.1177/0013916517725371
Monetary incentives can reduce the performance of pro-environmental behavior, but it remains unclear if they undermine pro-environmental intrinsic motivation. In this longitudinal intervention study, we investigated how monetarily versus environmentally framed behavioral information influences pro-environmental intrinsic motivation, intentions, and behavior. Clients of a local German energy provider (N = 657) were randomly assigned to receive electricity saving tips, combined with a savings potential in € (monetary framing) or in CO2 (environmental framing). Both types of framed tips positively influenced long-term electricity saving intentions (after 9 months), compared with a control group (receiving no tips), but not behavioral change (n = 285). Monetarily framed tips did not reduce pro-environmental intrinsic motivation (vs. a control group), but only environmentally framed tips increased pro-environmental intrinsic motivation, which mediated effects on intentions. Hence, environmental framing of behavioral interventions may be preferred when promoting long-term pro-environmental behavior without continuous monetary benefits. Otherwise, both framing strategies can be equally effective.