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Cass R. Sunstein and Simon Hedlin: Is greener always better?

Cass R. Sunstein and Simon Hedlin: Is greener always better?

Consumers judge environmentally friendly goods and services on the basis of stereotypes, which often turn out to be wrong. As one might expect, green stereotypes are frequently positive, and lead people to perceive green goods as better than they actually are — but sometimes green stereotypes are negative, which producers and public officials ought to keep in mind as they try to nudge the market in a more sustainable direction.

Take organic food as an example. An experimental study by researchers at Cornell University looked at the effect of labeling processed food as organic. The...

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