What makes consumers willing to pay for carbon taxes–A view of terror management theory

Huu Phuc Dang, Anni Rahimah, Julia Ying Chao Lin, Bao Quoc Truong-Dinh, Pavel D. Glebanov, Syed Hassan Raza, Nancy Runnan Li, Julian Ming‐Sung Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The growing exasperating effect of climate change calls for an immensely augmented decline of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in all aspects of human life. Marketers have increasingly employed different strategies in attempt to change consumer behavior having a pivotal role in diminishing CO2 emissions. Yet, little work has been done to investigate the influencing factors that can develop sustainable consumption patterns. Drawing on Terror Management Theory (TMT), this research attempts to explore the relationships between omnipresent fear of death and consumers’ willingness to pay for carbon emissions. The results demonstrate that mortality salience is positively associated with materialism whereas self-esteem tends to decrease it. The results further indicate that, these two research precursors positively influence consumers’ health consciousness; materialism and health consciousness lower and positively influence consumers’ willingness to pay extra to offset carbon emissions, respectively. This study advances our knowledge regarding the willingness of consumers to pay for carbon offsets and strengthens the literature on climate change response by providing empirical evidence of the effects of various psychological factors. On the basis of these findings, this study also provides key managerial instructions for the carbon offset program. Fear of death is critically important because it can greatly affect consumers’ willingness to pay for carbon taxes, so managers should foster consumers’ self-esteem yet offering material bonuses to airline passengers, on the contrary, might not have a desired effect on sustainable behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1192-1203
Number of pages12
JournalSustainable Production and Consumption
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Carbon offset
  • Carbon tax
  • Mortality salience
  • Self-esteem
  • Terror Management Theory
  • Willingness to pay


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