GLRPPR Sector Resource: The Socio-Demographic and Psychological Predictors of Residential Energy Consumption: A Comprehensive Review
The Socio-Demographic and Psychological Predictors of Residential Energy Consumption: A Comprehensive Review
This article provides a comprehensive review of theory and research on the individual-level predictors of household energy usage. Drawing on literature from across the social sciences, we examine two broad categories of variables that have been identified as potentially important for explaining variability in energy consumption and conservation: socio-demographic factors (e.g., income, employment status, dwelling type/size, home ownership, household size, stage of family life cycle) and psychological factors (e.g., beliefs and attitudes, motives and intentions, perceived behavioral control, cost-benefit appraisals, personal and social norms). Despite an expanding literature, we find that empirical evidence of the impact of these variables has been far from consistent and conclusive to date. Such inconsistency poses challenges for drawing generalizable conclusions, and underscores the complexity of consumer behavior in this domain. In this article, we propose that a multitude of factors--whether directly, indirectly, or in interaction--influence how householders consume and conserve energy. Theory, research and practice can be greatly advanced by understanding what these factors are, and how, when, where, why and for whom they operate. We conclude by outlining some important practical implications for policymakers and directions for future research.
Energies 8(1), 573-609.
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