How psychological ownership can enhance stewardship for public goods

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How can consumers be encouraged to take better care of public goods and resources? That’s the question posed in a new research paper co-authored by Collen P. Kirk, D.P.S., associate professor of marketing at New York Institute of Technology, in the Journal of Marketing.
Caring for the Commons: Using Psychological Ownership to Enhance Stewardship Behavior for Public Goods aims to help solve the “tragedy of the commons,” the idea that when goods or resources are shared by many owners they are subject to abuse or neglect.
Sadly, the tragedy of the commons can be seen in many public spaces, such as cemeteries, public housing, fishing areas, and beaches, and has contributed to a number of environmental challenges. One commonly cited environmental issue includes ocean pollution. Because ocean waters are shared by many different nations no single authority has the power to pass laws that protect the entire ocean. Instead, nations manage and protect ocean resources along their coastlines, leaving the much larger shared waters vulnerable to contamination.
Citing available studies on the tragedy of the commons, Kirk joins Joann Peck, Ph.D., of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business; Andrea Luangrath, Ph.D., of the University of Iowa; and Suzanne …

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