Personality trait effects on green household installations

17 Jul 2018

Large, one-time investments in green energy installations effectively reduce domestic energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Despite long-term economic benefits for households, the rate of green investments often remains moderate unless supported by financial subsidies. Beyond financial considerations, green investments may also be driven by individual psychological factors. The current study uses data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (N = 3,468) to analyse whether the household decision to invest in green energy installations is linked to the Big Five personality traits. Personality traits and domestic investments in solar and other alternative energy systems had weak indirect associations through environmental concern but not through risk preferences. Openness to Experience and Neuroticism showed a weak positive relationship with green energy installations through the environmental concern channel, whereas Extraversion had a weak negative link. Based on these findings, persuasive messaging for green investments may be more effective when it focuses on environmental concern rather than reduced risk in countries like Germany, where long-standing financial subsidies decreased the risk in green investments.