Mental Accounting

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.


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