Behavioural Economics Seminar: Marketing Prosocial behavior


Carsten Lynge Jensen, Lars Gårn Hansen and Laura M. Andersen, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen


Private firms, utilities and authorities often appeal to prosocial motives when marketing products or trying to persuade the public to change behavior. In a large randomized field experiment we compare the effect of appealing to pro-self monetary motives, pro-social motives and a combination of the two when inducing power customers in southern Denmark to provide flexibility in their power demand. We find that appealing to pro-social motivation generates participation and subsequent activity but at lower levels than appealing to monetary motivation. We find that adding a pro-social appeal to monetary motivation reduces recruitment of men but increases program activity of recruited women. We also identify the effects of combining these three motivation appeals with intuitive advertising content and so called foot in the door (FITD) priming. We find that FITD priming increases recruitment of women under both monetary and prosocial motivation but not under combined motivation.