Effects of perceived social norms on support for renewable energy transition: Moderation by national culture and environmental risks

Hoi Wing Chan, Alina Mia Udall, Kim Pong Tam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy sources is indispensable to the achievement of carbon-neutral targets in climate change mitigation. Such transition not only requires policy changes and technological advances but also hinges on individuals' actions and support. Accordingly, there is a pressing need to engage the public in renewable energy transition. In this pre-registered study, we examined the effects of perceived descriptive norms and injunctive norms on people's support for renewable energy transition among 31 European countries. Importantly, we compared how the strength of such effects varied between the countries with different cultures and levels of environmental risks. With data from the ECHOES international survey, we found that the two perceived social norms were positively related to support for renewable energy transition, and these positive associations were stronger among countries with higher levels of individualism and cultural tightness, or lower levels of air pollution and vulnerability to climate change risks. Overall, although these observations are contrary to our hypotheses developed based on the cross-cultural psychology literature, they speak of the imperative for researchers and practitioners to acknowledge that the behavioral influence of social norms in the energy domain is sensitive to contextual factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101750
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Cross-national comparisons
  • Cultures
  • Environmental risks
  • Perceived descriptive norms
  • Perceived injunctive norms
  • Renewable energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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