Going green to be morally clean: An examination of environmental behavior among materialistic consumers
Tang, Yihui (Elina)
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Materialism and environmentalism have emerged as megatrends in developed western societies. Prior research has suggested that these two values are incompatible. The current research shows that materialistic values can strengthen the positive relationship between environmental knowledge and environmental behaviors under certain conditions. The results suggest moral compensation as the underlying cause. Across four studies, this research uses experimental, survey, and secondary data to show that materialistic values can have a positive impact on indirect environmental behaviors when an individual possesses sufficient environmental knowledge. This effect is stronger in individuals who are highly self-conscious as well as those primed to be self-conscious, consistent with the moral compensation paradigm. In summary, the impact of environmental attitudes on environmental behaviors through environmental knowledge is most pronounced when one's materialistic values and self-consciousness are high. Conceptual, policy-making, and managerial implications are discussed.