Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pro-Environment Light Bulb Labeling Turns Off Conservatives, Study Finds

When light bulbs are compared side-by-side, some consumers are turned off by labeling that stresses the environmental benefits of efficient choices, a study finds.

Three light bulbs.  

How many conservatives does it take to change a light bulb? A more intriguing question might be, "How many conservatives can you persuade to switch to energy-efficient light bulbs?" New research suggests that fewer will buy such bulbs when they're labeled as being good for the environment, largely because the issue of carbon emission reductions is so politically polarizing in the United States. 

"I think we've shown the negative consequences of environmental messaging," explained Dena Gromet, of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, lead author of a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "In particular, you can lose significant portions of people who would otherwise be interested in these products when you use that environmental labeling. So it indicates that different messages can reach different groups." (See related interactive: "Light Bulb Savings Calculator.")

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