Social desirability bias in surveys: I rarely see reusable bags at super checkout – do you? Salvos must be inundated with clothes?

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Foodborne Illness and Plastic Bag Bans

via Foodborne Illness and Plastic Bag Bans | PERC – The Property and Environment Research Center.

Why charging for plastic bags doesn’t work

My local supermarket tried to charge for plastic bags then backed down because of customer protests.

In the UK, a compulsory 5p charge on plastic bags first resulted in a sharp drop consumption then a rise in in the use of plastic bags last year. It seems the immediate change in behaviour reaped by the new charges is short-lived and it doesn’t take long for old habits to re-emerge.

Attaching a cost to something that was free certainly reduces frivolous consumption, but if that cost that is too low can merely act to pay off one’s conscience.

Beware of putting a price on guilt and letting people down.

A classic paper from 2000, Gneezy and Rustichini studied what happened when day-care centres in Israel tried to reduce late parental pick-ups by introducing fines.

Before long, late pick-ups had not reduced, they had doubled. Why? Because parents felt that the fine was a price worth paying and the guilt which had previously controlled their behaviour was assuaged.