Does positive framing matter? An investigation of how framing affects consumers’ willingness to buy green electricity in Denmark

Yingkui Yang, Hans Stubbe Solgaard, Jingzheng Ren

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate how framing affect consumers’ willingness to buy green electricity using a contingent valuation method. A sample of 1022 respondents was divided into two nearly equal sized sub-samples chosen from an Internet panel. One subsample received a positively framed version of the questionnaire regarding signing up to a green electricity contract, and the other subsample received a negatively framed version of the questionnaire. As expected, consumers displayed stronger intention to buy green electricity when the situation was framed in a positive manner (i.e., most Danish households have already bought it), as compared to the situation framed in a negative manner (i.e., only a few Danish households have bought green electricity). The theoretical explanation can be formulated in terms of the theory of social norms. The framing effect also signals the public good side of green electricity in that there seems to be a free rider problem. The relatively low intention to buy green electricity in the negatively framed question indicates that the free-rider incentive is particularly powerful in large groups, where an individual may perceive that her or his behavior will have only little influence on the collective outcome. The managerial implications are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Contingent valuation
  • Danish electricity market
  • Green power marketing
  • Question framing
  • Willingness to pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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