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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article investigates interventions at the micro level—the level of the individual—from both the citizen and policymaker perspectives. It concentrates on recognized cognitive barriers from the behavioral decision-making literature. It specifically highlights three cognitive barriers that impede sound individual decision-making that have particular relevance to behaviors impacting the environment. Then, it describes possible ways to overcome these cognitive barriers, first from the perspective of the individual citizen and then from the perspective of the policymaker. Over-discounting the future can contribute to a broad array of environmental problems. The three biases—positive illusions, egocentrism, and the tendency to discount the future—can have an interactive effect. They are innate and pervasive roadblocks that prevent individuals from adopting energy-efficient behaviors and technologies. It is noted that strategies are necessary to help policymakers overcome their loss aversion. Finally, the remaining questions on the research frontier are presented.

Keywords: cognitive barriers, behavioral decision-making, environmental problems, citizen, policymaker, positive illusions, egocentrism

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