Mental Accounting

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Arnold Schwarzenegger, known as an environmental activist, loves his old-fashioned Hummer (Weight 3 tons, 6 Liter volume, 330 hp, 23 liters /100 km, price about 70,000 Euro) – the original type of the Sports Utility Vehicle – SUV. To calm his conscience, Arnold equipped his new Mercedes G-car with an electric drive. Many people use mental accounts to offset the consumption in different areas: e.g., consumption of ecologically produced food and less meat charging it against polluting consumption in another area, such as a plane trip. The behavioral economist Richard Thaler speaks in this context of “mental accounting”; however, it regularly overestimates the effects of environmentally conscious behavior and underestimates the effects of its own environmentally harmful behavior.

Sources:

Bernd Sommer, Forum der Verantwortung, Wege aus der Wachstumsgesellschaft, Herausgegeben von Harald Welzer und Klaus Wiegandt.

Thaler, Richard H.: Mental Accounting Matters, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 12, 1999, Page 183-206.

Roland Leithenmayr VfV

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