The Matrix: How Society Forces Us to be Eco-friendly Open Access

Murthy, Arundhati (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/mk61rh348?locale=en
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Abstract

The Matrix: How Society Forces Us to be Eco-friendly

By Arundhati Murthy

In this paper, we construct a theoretical model of environmental behavior based on the assumption that an individual's decisions are motivated by the behavior of those around him. We examine the conditions under which an indiviudual chooses to be green and determine the choices he or she must make in order for both individual and society to derive maximum benefit. Within the bounds of our model, three Nash equilibria exist: either everyone is eco-friendly, everyone is eco-unfriendly, or the world is split into polluters and eco-warriors. Every individual is best off when the entire world chooses to be eco-friendly. However, under certain conditions, unanimous environmental irresponsibility is a preferable outcome to a world divided in choice. This result has implications that can be extended to the real world. We define an individual's "tipping-point" to be the smallest expected number of eco-friendly individuals required to convince him or her to be eco-friendly. By instituting policies that either decrease this tipping-point or inflate the perceived number of eco-friendly individuals, government agencies can push society towards universal environmental responsibility.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………….....1

II. Background……………………………………………………………………………………….....2

III. The General Model……………………………………………………………………………….3

IV. The Continuous Model………………………………………………………………………….18

V. Conclusions………………………………………………………………………………………......27

VI. References and Related Readings………………………………………………………..30

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