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Social Organization and the Transition from Direct to Indirect Consumption

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionAxinn, William, Jennifer S. Barber, and Ann E. Biddlecom. 2007. "Social Organization and the Transition from Direct to Indirect Consumption." PSC Research Report No. 07-618. February 2007.

This paper presents a new theoretical framework for the study of environmental consumption at the micro-level by building on concepts from classical sociological theory and recent macro-level studies of the environment. The framework emphasizes the local community context as an important determinant of environmental consumption. We test this framework with unique micro-level data on consumption, household size, household affluence, and community context from Nepal, a setting in the midst of dramatic change in community organization, population size, and consumption behavior. The results of these tests are consistent with the hypothesis that local nonfamily organizations shift the consumption of environmental resources from direct to more indirect. We argue that the framework presented here is a useful early step toward more comprehensive micro-level models of environmental quality.

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