Sustainable Consumption – An Empirical Analysis of Determinants and Effects (NaKon)

Duration: August 2014 – November 2015

Project coordination: University of Kassel, Chair of Empirical Economic Research

Collaborators: Other chairs of the University of Kassel (Empirical Economic Research (Prof. Andreas Ziegler), Agricultural and Food Marketing (Prof. Ulrich Hamm), Traffic Planning and Traffic Systems (Prof. Carsten Sommer), Solar and Systems Engineering (Prof. Klaus Vajen), Public Law, particularly Environmental and Technology Law (Prof. Alexander Roßnagel), Environmental and Behavioral Economics (Prof. Astrid Dannenberg)

Commissioned by: Central Research Promotion University of Kassel

Summary: Strategies for a transition towards a sustainable economy have been adopted both at the federal and the state level. Apart from the business sector households play a pivotal role in this transition due to their consumption behavior. Private consumption of goods and services is, for instance, a major source of environmental pollution. Therefore, a number of studies on sustainable consumption have already been carried out in order to better understand the behavioral and consumption patterns which are relevant for sustainable development. However, these studies mostly focused on a single area of consumption and had a disciplinary orientation.

The goal of this project is to empirically analyze determinants (such as attitudes and motivations) of sustainable consumer behavior as well as potential interactions with the supply side by applying an interdisciplinary approach. The project also aims to determine which economic, ecological, and social effects will result from a shift towards more sustainable consumption. In doing so, three particular areas of consumption – energy use in households, transport, and food consumption – will be examined in an interdependent and comprehensive manner. These areas of consumption are highly relevant both from an economics and a sustainability perspective as they not only account for two thirds of total consumption expenditures but also have a significant environmental impact.


Prof. Dr. Heike Wetzel
Tel. (0561) 804 - 7750