Real World Consumer Behaviour

Real consumer behaviour relating to the purchase of environmentally preferable goods

The main aim of the project was the research and development of outputs that will persuade policy-makers across Europe of the benefits of considering behavioural economics when designing consumer-facing product policies. This project combined research and evidence on the real-world impact of product policies on consumer behaviour. It reviewed this evidence with reference to behavioural economics literature.

The first phase was a literature review, which collated and summarised the body of international evidence and research on behavioural economics and marketing related to consumer behaviour and the purchasing of environmentally-preferable products.

The second phase was the production of five product policy case studies. By reference to data on the 'real world' impact of product policies, these illustrate why behavioural economics is important. They aim to convince the reader of the limitations of standard economics by illustrating the ways in which the observed behaviour of consumers differs from that expected by rational choice theory. The case studies should be convincing because they are based on actual consumer responses to product policies.

The third and final stage was the production of product-focused policy briefings, intended to provide policy-makers with a clear explanation of why behavioural economics is relevant to the development of effective policy in a particular product group. The briefings are not intended to tell policy-makers how they should act in any given situation, but should provide clear and concise information for use in a variety of situations during the policy-making process.

TML collated one of the five product policy case studies, including a background literature review. This case study examined an additional differentiated CO2-purchase tax as a function of the test-cycle CO2-emission level of new vehicles to internalise the external costs of CO2.


No report available



funded by

European Commission, DG ENV


Kris Vanherle, Tom Voge


Policy Studies Institute, BIO Intelligence Service, Ecologic Institute, GHK Consulting, Instituut voor Milieuvraagstukken, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency


Kris Vanherle

+32 16 31.77.38
reference: 06.22