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Individualism and the adoption of clean energy technology

Per G. Fredriksson, PhD J.B. Ang S. Sharma
Resource and Energy Economics. May 26, 2020

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Why do 20% of Swedes report having adopted a clean energy system while the corresponding share of Spaniards equals 0.4%? Using data for about 25,000 individuals across 33 countries, this study tests which cultural trait, individualism or collectivism, is associated with greater levels of clean technology adoption. Our fractional probit estimates suggest that individualistic individuals are more inclined to adopt clean energy systems for home and transport purposes. In particular, the adoption probability rises by an estimated 2% if a person exhibits individualistic values. This finding is not driven by country-specific tax or subsidy policies or market-specific determinants and is robust to controlling for individual and household characteristics, attitudes, social and personal norms and other significant dimensions of cultural differences. The results, therefore, facilitate an understanding of how the decision to adopt clean energy technologies can be driven by cultural factors.