Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 49 Issue 9 (September 2019), Pages 547-608

A social dilemma perspective on recycling (pages 585-595)

Abstract Recent research on social responsibility has largely focused on firms, with only limited research into individual behavior. Recycling is socially responsible behavior which poses a difficult choice for consumers because it benefits society as a whole in the long term but involves a personal cost and does not benefit the individual consumer directly. Previous studies of recycling, however, have only partly explained consumers’ recycling choices. Addressing this gap, this research applied a social dilemma perspective in qualitative and quantitative consumer studies. The findings from the studies demonstrated a positive relationship between a consumer's expectation that others will recycle and his own participation. A social value orientation was found to have a significant moderating effect on this relationship.

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