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Die Dekarbonisierung der Energieerzeugung ist ein entscheidender Hebel zur Eindämmung des Klimawandels. Trotz beeindruckender Lernkurven in Bezug auf erneuerbare Energien und hoher gesellschaftspolitischer sowie marktwirtschaftlicher Akzeptanz erweist sich die Umsetzung aufgrund mangelnder lokaler Akzeptanz als schwierig. Ein besseres Verständnis der Triebkräfte, die der gesellschaftlichen Akzeptanz zugrunde liegen, ist unerlässlich, um politischen Entscheidungsträgern und Projektentwicklern zu helfen, neue Strategien für die Umsetzung von klima- und energiepolitischen Massnahmen auf lokaler Ebene vorantreiben. Mit dieser Arbeit vertiefe ich das Verständnis der Faktoren, die der gesellschaftlichen Akzeptanz von erneuerbaren Energien zugrunde liegen, indem ich mich auf die Rolle des Affekts bei der Umsetzung von Wind-, Solar- und Geothermieprojekten fokussiere. Ich präsentiere Projektentwicklern und politischen Entscheidungsträgern Empfehlungen für eine bessere Integration von Energieprojekten in lokale Gemeinschaften und zeige Forschern die Bedeutung der Messung affektiver Faktoren zusätzlich zu den kognitiven Faktoren auf, um die Energieakzeptanzforschung voranzutreiben. Im ersten Beitrag untersuche ich die affektiven Reaktionen der Menschen auf Windenergie und deren Einfluss auf die lokale Einstellung zu Windenergieprojekten. Ich zeige, dass sich die affektiven Bewertungen von Windenergie zwischen milden und starken Gegnern unterscheiden. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass politische Entscheidungsträger und Projektentwickler sich nicht von den lautstarken Meinungen der starken Gegner blenden lassen sollten, sondern denjenigen mehr Aufmerksamkeit schenken sollten, die gemischte Gefühle gegenüber der Technologie haben (der 'schweigenden Mehrheit'). Im zweiten Beitrag untersuche ich die Rolle der Anlagengrösse und des Affekts bei der Entstehung von Einstellungen zur Solarenergie. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass beim Vergleich von Solar- und Windenergieanlagen ähnlicher Grösse die stärkere Präferenz für Solarenergie auf ein ähnliches Niveau sinkt wie bei der Windenergie. Politische Entscheidungsträger könnten daher bei grossflächigen Solaranlagen auf ähnliche Herausforderungen wie bei Windenergieprojekten stossen. Die Studie zeigt auch, dass Affekte bei Grossanlagen besonders wichtig für die Einstellung der Menschen sind. Im dritten Beitrag untersuche ich die Rolle des seismischen Risikos der Tiefengeothermie auf Affekte, Emotionen und Einstellungen gegenüber oberflächennahen, sowie tiefen Geothermieprojekten. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass Informationen über Geothermie den Affekt der Menschen auf die Technologie positiv beeinflussen können. Die Ergebnisse zeigen auch, dass ein Spillover-Effekt des seismischen Risikobewusstseins auf die Wahrnehmung von oberflächennahen Geothermieprojekten in Bezug auf Affekt und Emotionen erkennbar ist, jedoch nicht auf die Einstellungen. Dies hebt die wichtige Bedeutung der Messung affektiver Faktoren zusätzlich zu kognitiven Faktoren in der Energie-Akzeptanzforschung hervor.

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Um den globalen Klimawandel aufzuhalten, ist es zentral, uns vom Status quo zu verabschieden und CO2-arme Energie- und Transportsysteme zu fördern. Aus technischer Sicht sind bereits zahlreiche klimafreundliche Lösungen verfügbar. Ein erfolgreicher Energiewandel bedingt jedoch auch nachhaltige Konsumenten- und Bürgerentscheidungen. Somit setzt die Beschleunigung des Wandels hin zu einer kohlenstoffarmen Zukunft ein fundiertes Wissen über die Treiber und Barrieren voraus, die die soziale Akzeptanz erneuerbarer Energien und nachhaltiges Mobilitätsverhalten fördern resp. hemmen. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass die Vertrautheit mit nachhaltigen Alternativen und andere Verhaltensfaktoren wie Emotionen die erfolgreiche Umsetzung klimafreundlicher Lösungen entscheidend beeinflussen. Die vorliegende Dissertation besteht aus drei Forschungsarbeiten. Der erste Beitrag setzt den Fokus auf die soziale Akzeptanz von Windenergieprojekten und verbessert somit das Verständnis von Bürgerentscheidungen auf Gemeindeebene. Es wird untersucht, inwiefern und warum während der Planungsphase eines Windprojekts Lärmsorgen auftreten. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass Lärmbedenken weit über den tatsächlichen Windturbinenlärm hinaus reichen. Projektleiter und politische Entscheidungsträger sollten sich primär um Anwohner kümmern, die im engsten Umkreis der Windturbine wohnen, denn ihre Bedenken könnten gut begründet sein. Beachtung sollte aber auch denjenigen geschenkt werden, die mit Windturbinen wenig vertraut sind, und dazu neigen, die Lärmbelastung zu überschätzen. Die zweite und die dritte Forschungsarbeit konzentrieren sich auf Konsumentenentscheidungen im Transportsektor. Sie untersuchen die Rolle von Verhaltensfaktoren bei der Wahl zwischen Flug- und Zugreisen und wie letztere als kohlenstoffarme Alternative gefördert werden können. Der zweite Beitrag zeigt, dass Personen, die mit dem Zugfahren vertraut sind und die produktive Nutzung der Reisezeit schätzen, dazu neigen, den Zug dem Flugzeug vorzuziehen. Das Papier empfiehlt zwei Strategien, um die Vertrautheit mit Bahnreisen zu erhöhen. Zusätzlich wird empfohlen, bei der Kommunikation die produktive Nutzung der Reisezeit während der Zugfahrt hervorzuheben. Der dritte Beitrag zeigt, dass implizite affektive Assoziationen mit Flugreisen stärker mit kontinentalen Flug- und Bahnreisepräferenzen zusammenhängen als umweltbezogene Einstellungen. Dieses zentrale Ergebnis zeigt, dass politische und wirtschaftliche Entscheidungsträger über die Sensibilisierung der Öffentlichkeit bezüglich der Umweltauswirkungen von Flugreisen hinausgehen sollten, indem sie die emotionale Dimension der Wahl des Reisemodus berücksichtigen.

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Decarbonization of transport is central for fulfilling global climate goals. The electrification of passenger road vehicles has, currently, the largest potential to help achieve these goals. Policymakers and increasingly so industry actors have thus been promoting battery electric vehicles (EVs). Although EV market share is finally growing, it needs accelerating. With largely overcome technological barriers and conducive contextual conditions, consumer adoption has become decisive for further EV diffusion. We thus need to better understand how adoption intentions of consumers that are currently entering the market are formed, what mechanisms they operate on and what are their determinants so that targeted, more effective strategies to foster EV purchases can be proposed. This dissertation contributes to this endeavor with three research papers that each address one of the above aspects of adoption intentions through original empirical research. Paper I studies the formation of adoption intentions by investigating the vehicle purchase process. It generates a novel conceptual framework that includes five stages, both pre- and post-purchase, and that is determined by differentiated decision-making strategies. The validity of the framework is tested and confirmed in an online survey with Swiss consumers. The study identifies the most important external influences and appropriate touchpoints at relevant stages of the process within which targeted interventions to promote EV adoption are proposed. Paper II analyzes product bundling and the mechanisms, namely those of familiarity and convenience, that operationalize its effect on EV adoption intentions of Swiss consumers. The between-subject design experiment finds that bundles of EV and charging services can increase EV purchase willingness, however only of those consumers with low familiarity with relevant components. A choice experiment identifies three segments within current adopters. The largest one prefers a convenient bundle of an EV with a plurality of additional services. Paper III investigates the role of culture and symbolic meanings of EVs pertaining to gender as unconscious determinants of EV adoption. A regression analysis finds that countries whose cultures are characterized by relatively high femininity based on Hofstedes cultural dimensions have a significantly higher EV market share. The online survey applying an implicit association test (IAT) concludes that German consumers unconsciously associate EVs with femininity. This association is particularly strong among male EV non-adopters, showing that excessive femininity of EVs might represent a barrier to EV adoption among certain consumer segments. Based on these insights, this dissertation provides recommendations to policymakers and industry actors how to promote EV adoption among consumers that are currently entering the market and thus to foster further EV diffusion.

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Despite mounting urgency to mitigate climate change, new coal mines have recently been approved in various countries, including in Southeast Asia and Australia. Adani’s Carmichael coal mine project in the Galilee Basin, Queensland (Australia), was approved in June 2019 after 9 years of political contestation. Counteracting global efforts to decarbonise energy systems, this mine will substantially increase Australia’s per capita CO2 emissions, which are already among the highest in the world. Australia’s deepening carbon lock-in can be attributed to the essential economic role played by the coal industry, which gives it structural power to dominate political dynamics. Furthermore, tenacious networks among the traditional mass media, mining companies, and their shareholders have reinforced the politico-economic influence of the industry, allowing the mass media to provide a venue for the industry’s outside lobbying strategies as well as ample backing for its discursive legitimisation with pro-coal narratives. To investigate the enduring symbiosis between the coal industry, business interests, the Australian state, and mainstream media, we draw on natural language processing techniques and systematically study discourses about the coal mine in traditional and social media between 2017 and 2020. Our results indicate that while the mine’s approval was aided by the pro-coal narratives of Queensland’s main daily newspaper, the Courier-Mail, collective public sentiment on Twitter has diverged significantly from the newspaper’s stance. The rationale for the mine’s approval, notwithstanding increasing public contestation, lies in the enduring symbiosis between the traditional economic actors and the state; and yet, our results highlight a potential corner of the discursive battlefield favourable for hosting more diverse arguments.

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With mandates and taxes to mitigate climate change proving politically challenging to implement, some scholars and policy makers have started looking to social norms as a vehicle for large-scale behavioral change. This raises the question of whether formal institutions or organizations are able to influence social norms and behavior. We designed a randomized experiment with a sample of 3627 American residents to investigate how social norm perceptions and behaviors change in response to institutional signals about climate change, and how this varies with signal source. We found that institutional signals, in particular when originating from science or business actors, shifted perceptions of descriptive social norms about climate action. Institutional signals also influenced intended pro-environmental behaviors, but did not increase personal contributions to environmental causes, suggesting that a shift in perceived norms may be insufficient to drive personal action, especially when it involves personal costs. Our study not only emphasizes the importance of institutional signals and messengers in changing perceptions of social norms, but also highlights the complexities involved in norm interventions ultimately aimed at influencing behavior.

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A timely transition of socio-technical systems to more sustainable alternatives is crucial in mitigating climate change and other environmental problems. While innovation plays a significant role in such transitions, policy makers and the scientific community have become increasingly aware that the deliberate destabilization of existing socio-technical regimes—including associated institutions and technologies—is also often necessary. However, such aspiration is politically contested. This paper presents the Endowment-Practice-Institutions (EPI) Framework to study the contestation of institutions underpinning socio-technical regimes. By integrating key theories from Institutional Sociology and Political Economy, the framework conceives actors’ capability of influencing institutional structures to be dependent on their institutional work practices and the various endowments that enable these practices. We present Japanese coal policy as an example to illustrate how the framework can be used to assess actors’ institutional work and their influence on institutional outcomes. In addition to providing new theoretical insights, the framework helps to systematically analyze agency-driven mechanisms pertinent for the maintenance or destabilization of socio-technical regimes.

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Solar and wind energy are expected to play a key role in creating a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 and decarbonizing energy production in general, albeit requiring significant deployment. This presupposes that the population accepts such energy sources, thus necessitates understanding how people perceive energy systems. Unlike the abundant literature about wind energy, social acceptance of solar energy has received less attention, especially concerning large solar installations. Opinion polls indicate that solar energy enjoys a high level of socio-political acceptance and is preferred to other renewables, although it is unclear whether this acceptance persists as the technology is deployed on a large scale. This paper helps close this gap by describing the results of a representative survey (n = 601) conducted using a between-subject design to examine how attitudes of the public towards solar energy vary based on the size of installations, how the latter compare to attitudes towards wind energy, and what the role of affect is in the former. Results reveal that the stronger preference for solar power decreases to a similar level as that for wind energy when comparing installation of similar sizes, highlighting that solar energy installations may not easily be scaled up. The study also shows that affect plays an important role in forming people’s attitudes towards wind and solar, especially concerning large-scale installations. This underlines the need for policymakers and project developers, who aim to deploy renewables on a large scale, to attend to the affective component of decision-making.

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Dieser Artikel behandelt vier grundlegende Fragen an eine Purpose-Orientierung von Unternehmen. Er bezieht sich dabei auf die Stellungnahmen bedeutender Persönlichkeiten und Organisationen wie den amerikanischen Business Roundtable, Klaus Schwab und das von ihm geleitete World Economic Forum, Larry Fink, CEO von BlackRock, sowie auf aktuelle Literatur. Es werde folgende vier Fragen behandelt: 1. Was ist Purpose und woher kommt der Druck im Hinblick auf eine Purpose-Orientierung? 2. Worin besteht das unternehmerische Interesse an Purpose? 3. Was sind Anforderungen an eine echte Purpose-Orientierung? 4. Welche Aufgaben und Herausforderungen ergeben sich hieraus für das Controlling?

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Electric mobility has an important role to play in the transition to a more sustainable transportation system. However, adoption is still relatively slow in most countries, also within organizations and their corporate fleets. Much cited hard barriers such as the limited availability of charging infrastructure do not fully explain this slow uptake. Consequently, the research field of social acceptance of electric mobility with a focus on acceptance related soft barriers has emerged. This paper adds new theoretical as well as practical insights to the debate. Methodologically, the paper is based on a multi-method approach. Firstly, an online survey with Swiss fleet managers (n = 30) supports the importance of acceptance related soft barriers. 63% of the participants assessed the lack of knowledge as an important barrier and the lack of demand from employees was considered an important barrier by 56% of the participants. Secondly, a behavioral intervention campaign to address those barriers was developed and assessed in a field experiment with carpool users (n = 10) in the city of St. Gallen. The behavioral intervention campaign consisted of a one-week trial period with EVs in the normal course of business life, free of charge, and without obligation. The results of the field experiment indicate that acceptance levels of both hard and soft barriers evolved positively from before (T0) to after (T1) the trial period. This suggests that designing a campaign to address acceptance related soft barriers might help increase social acceptance and the adoption of EVs in corporate fleets.

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Although Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies can potentially play an important role in climate change mitigation efforts, commercial CCS projects are still rare. Knowledge about the technical challenges of these technologies is rapidly advancing, but the challenges related to their public acceptance are still underinvestigated. Here we try to close this research gap by investigating public perceptions of CCS and public attitudes towards policies to scale up these technologies in the United States, where most existing industrial-scale CCS projects are operating. Based on a demographically representative sample of US residents, we find that awareness of CCS is very low. Using a conjoint experiment, we show that policies that outlaw the construction of new coal- and gas-fired power plants without CCS find higher public support than CCS subsidies and increases in taxes on unabated fossil fuel power generation. Public support decreases with rising costs of CCS deployment and decreasing minimal distance requirements of CCS plants from residential areas. Our results provide insights into the political feasibility of a large-scale deployment of CCS and show that specific policy design choices play an important role in influencing public support for policies to scale up these technologies.

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Although many people are concerned about climate change, active public support for ambitious policies is still lagging behind. How can this gap be closed? Recent work has theorized that the perceived urgency of climate change drives public support for climate policy, but this lacks empirical evidence. Using advanced sparse regressions and comparative survey-embedded framing experiments with 9,911 eligible voters in Germany and the United States, we empirically studied the role of perceived urgency. Our study provides two findings. First, although perceived urgency is key in driving support for “low-cost” mitigation policies, it does not lead to more support for “high-cost” mitigation policies where the behavioral implications are visible. Second, while temporal reframing does not increase policy support or feelings of dread, context information about demand-side mitigation increases support for such costly climate policies. The results are particularly relevant for democracies, where ambitious policies require the support of citizens.

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Households are key actors in decarbonizing our economy, especially when it comes to investments in a decentralized energy system, such as solar photovoltaics (PV). The phasing-out of feed-in tariffs, and unexpected policy changes in the wake of an increasingly polarized climate debate, require residential PV investors to bear new risks. Conducting a discrete choice experiment coupled with a randomized informational treatment among potential residential solar investors in Switzerland, we test whether policy and market risks deter households from investing in solar. We find that salient policy risk reduces households' intention to invest in solar, especially for risk-averse individuals. Conversely, households seem less sensitive to market risk: residential solar investors accept volatile revenues, as long as a price floor for excess electricity sold to the grid is guaranteed. Our study suggests that keeping perceived policy uncertainty low is more important for residential solar investors than fully hedging against electricity market risk.

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Die Menschheit steht vor grossen ökologischen und sozialen Herausforderungen wie Klimawandel, Verlust der biologischen Vielfalt, Unterernährung und sozialer Ungleichheit. Unternehmen spielen eine wichtige Rolle in der Verursachung und Lösung vieler dieser Probleme. Das Konzept der True Business Sustainability (TBST) von Dyllick und Muff (2016) stellt den positiven gesellschaftlichen Beitrag von Unternehmen in den Fokus und ist somit ein vielversprechender Ansatz, um gesellschaftliche Lösungsbeiträge von Unternehmen zu gestalten. Es muss jedoch noch spezifiziert werden, wie ein von Dyllick und Muff vorgeschlagener „grundlegend anderer strategischer Ansatz“ (2016, S. 170) aussieht. In der Forschung und Praxis konzentrieren sich Unternehmen vorwiegend auf den Business Case der Nachhaltigkeit und entscheiden sich nur dann für soziale und ökologische Strategien, wenn sie auch finanziell sinnvoll sind. Eine solche Inside-Out Perspektive verschärft jedoch die soziale und ökologische Notlage. Im Gegensatz dazu nimmt die in TBST vorgeschlagene Outside-In Perspektive gesellschaftliche Herausforderungen als Ausgangspunkt für die Strategieentwicklung und konzentriert sich darauf, wie Unternehmen diese lösen können. Diese Dissertation untersucht die Auswirkungen einer Outside-In Perspektive auf Unternehmensstrategien, indem Strategien aufgezeigt werden die effektiv zur nachhaltigen Entwicklung beitragen. Diese Ausrichtung von Unternehmensstrategien auf eine nachhaltige Entwicklung wird hier als Truly Sustainable Strategies (TSS) bezeichnet. Die Dissertation untersucht drei Aspekte von TSS: Merkmale, Typen und unterstützende Faktoren. Als erstes werden sieben Merkmale von TSS entwickelt. Zweitens werden verschiedene Typen von strategischen Maßnahmen in ein TSS Portfolio kategorisiert. Drittens werden vier Elemente identifiziert, die eine Entwicklung von TSS unterstützen. Die Ergebnisse der Dissertation tragen zu einem besseren Verständnis strategischer Maßnahmen und unterstützender Prozesse von TBST bei. Sie liefern Leitlinien für das Management, wie Unternehmen effektiv zur Lösung von dringenden Herausforderungen der Menschheit beitragen können.

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Investieren Haushalte in eine Photovoltaik (PV)-Anlage für ihr Eigenheim, leisten sie einen wichtigen Beitrag zur Dekarbonisierung. Um die Marktakzeptanz von PV-Anlagen zu erhöhen, ist ein fundiertes Verständnis der Investitionsbereitschaft von Privatpersonen zentral, insbesondere weil die bisherigen finanziellen Anreizsysteme für erneuerbare Energien auslaufen. Diese Dissertation fokussiert auf zunehmend relevante, aber noch weitgehend unerforschte Investitionstreiber von PV-Anlagen in Privathaushalten. Sie umfasst drei empirische Studien auf der Grundlage von zwei Discrete-Choice-Experimenten, an denen Schweizer Hauseigentümer teilgenommen haben. Die erste Studie untersucht, inwieweit ästhetische Ausprägungen von PV-Anlagen die Investitionsbereitschaft von Hausbesitzern beeinflussen. Sie identifiziert ein Premium- und ein Value-Segment, bestehend aus wahrscheinlichen PV-Anlage-Investoren, die sich in ihren Präferenzen für ästhetische Produkteigenschaften sowie in ihrer Preissensibilität unterscheiden. Die zweite Studie untersucht den Einfluss des wahrgenommenen Investitionsrisikos auf die Entscheidungen von Haushalten in eine PV-Anlage zu investieren. Sie deutet darauf hin, dass sich die politische Unsicherheit negativ auf ihre Investitionsbereitschaft auswirkt. Auf Marktrisiken reagieren Haushalte hingegen weniger stark. Die dritte Studie untersucht die Rolle des Eigenverbrauchs (oder der Prosumption), indem sie abschätzt, wie viel potenzielle private Käufer einer PV-Anlage bereit sind, für die Erhöhung ihrer Energieautonomie zu zahlen und warum. Sie zeigt, dass die an PV-Anlagen interessierten Haushalte bereit sind, eine erhebliche Prämie für die Erzeugung ihrer eigenen Energie zu zahlen, auch wenn sich dies finanziell nicht auszahlt, und unabhängig davon, wie umweltfreundlich der Netzstrom ist. Zusammenfassend identifizieren die Studien drei Faktoren, die den Ausbau von PV-Anlagen in Eigenheimen beschleunigen könnten: Eine Produktdifferenzierung, die sowohl auf Premium- als auch für Value-Solarkunden zugeschnitten ist, eine geringe wahrgenommene politische Unsicherheit in Bezug auf Förderprogramme und eine Erhöhung der Energieautonomie, die durch PV-Anlagen gewährleistet werden kann, sowie die Hervorhebung dieses Produktmerkmals im Kaufprozess.

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Damit das zwei-Grad Ziel, welches an der Klimakonferenz 2015 in Paris von nahezu allen Ländern der Welt vereinbart wurde, erreicht werden kann, sind neue Geschäftsmodelle welche die Verbreitung von erneuerbaren Energien wie Wind-, Wasser- und Solarstrom fördern äusserst relevant. Eines dieser neuartigen Geschäftsmodelle ist Community Solar. Community Solar erlaubt es allen Stromkunden, unabhängig davon ob man ein Haus mit passendem Dach dazu besitzt, sich an einer lokalen Solaranlage zu beteiligen und im Gegenzug dafür eine Vergütung in Form von Solarstrom oder einem finanziellen Gegenwert zu erhalten. Um praktisch relevante Marketingempfehlungen zu formulieren, welche die Verbreitung von Community Solar fördern sollen, wurden in dieser Dissertation anhand von drei Forschungsartikeln verschiedene Marketingaspekte genauer untersucht. Die Grundlage dazu wurde durch wissenschaftliche Theorien, Literaturanalysen und Beobachtungen von Best Practice Beispielen geschaffen. Basierend auf experimentellen online Fragebögen wurden dann für alle drei Forschungspaper repräsentative Stichproben erhoben, um herauszufinden, wie Stromkunden auf das Variieren von verschiedenen experimentellen Faktoren innerhalb von Community Solar Angeboten reagieren. Die Ergebnisse der drei Studien tragen dabei zum neu aufkommenden wissenschaftlichen Literaturstrang über Community Solar bei und haben viele relevante Implikationen für die Praxis, aber auch für politische Entscheidungsträger. Grundsätzlich wurde für Community Solar ein sehr hohes Marktpotential von über 60% aller Stromkunden in der Schweiz festgestellt. Des Weiteren konnte aufgezeigt werden, das Community Solar mit verschiedenen Photovoltaiktechnologien realisiert werden kann, ohne das es einen Einfluss auf die Kundenadoption hat. Es wurde auch festgestellt, dass sich eine Kundensegmentierung basierend auf der Kundenmotivation sowie eine separate Kommunikation für diese Segmente besonders lohnen kann, da Werbebotschaften basierend auf extrinsischen Faktoren für diese Kundensegmente entgegengesetzte Wirkungen erzielen. In der dritten Studie wurden Produktbündelungsmöglichkeiten von Community Solar mit Elektroautos untersucht, wobei zum Vorschein kam, dass durch diese Bündelung ein Zusatznutzen für Kunden entsteht wodurch sie die Kaufbereitschaft im Vergleich zu einem Elektroauto ohne Community Solar signifikant erhöht. Dies zeigt auf, dass Elektroautohändler als indirekte Vertriebswege sowie als generelle Partner von Community Solar Anbietern bestens geeignet sind. Die Ergebnisse dieser Dissertation wurden in einem 4 P Marketing-Mix zusammengefasst.

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The COP 21 in Paris at international level and the Energy Strategy 2050 at national level have defined the framework for making our energy system more sustainable. However, implementation at the local level is proving difficult. Despite high levels of general acceptance of renewable energy and electric mobility, its uptake is slow. The literature has conceptualized this contradiction between a high level of general acceptance and the difficult implementation at the local level, by using the term social acceptance. Researchers agree that a better understanding of the social acceptance of renewable energy and electric mobility is crucial for increasing uptake and, thus, achieving our climate targets. With this dissertation, I seek to contribute to a better understanding and management of different elements of social acceptance of wind and solar energy, as well as electric mobility. I present recommendations for more successful project development and suggest policy implications that advocate for the deeper integration of social-acceptance issues in policy. I also examine specific challenges related to the respective technologies, as follows. In the first paper, we examine local preferences for different financial-participation models and their impact on the social acceptance of wind-energy projects. The results of the experimental study show that the introduction of a financial-participation model can increase the social acceptance of such projects, with the collective “wind resource tax” model being the preferred option. In the second paper, we analyze the social acceptance of utility-scale solar PV projects in alpine regions. The expansion of such projects has untapped potential to help meet electricity demand in the winter half-year. The results of our choice experiment identify a design that minimizes visual impact, includes local ownership, and has a low level of impact on the local flora and fauna, crucial to increasing the social acceptance of a project. In the third paper, I investigate the social acceptance of electric mobility in corporate fleets. In a field experiment with car pool users, I test the effect of personal experience with electric vehicles on their acceptance, as well as the adoption of electric mobility. The results show that more personal experience can lead to an increase in purchase intention and higher acceptance levels and for several EV-related elements.

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To fulfil global climate goals, the market share of electric vehicles (EVs) has to importantly increase. Social influence has been confirmed to play an important role on EV adoption decisions. However, social norm interventions have not been proven to motivate EV preferences. The goal of this research is to contribute to this literature. Namely, it aims to answer the question if social norms salience can increase EV purchase willingness of Swiss customers. To achieve that, an online experiment was conducted, exposing respondents to four normative messages related to EV adoption. Namely, the interventions combined descriptive dynamic and injunctive messaging, focusing on the growth of EV, decline of ICE sales in Switzerland and the growth of the use of #SUVShame on social media. The results show that overall, social norms have only a limited effect on EV preferences. However, respondents who find the communicated message credible and like #SUVShame express a significantly larger EV purchase willingness than the control group and the respondents who do not believe or do not like the communicated message. Adverse effects have been however also observed. Respondents who do not believe the dynamic descriptive norm on EV sales demonstrate a significantly lower EV purchase willingness than the control group. The research delivers important findings for both academia and practice, contributing to the current scientific discussion and proposing recommendations for policy makers how promote EV adoption in Switzerland.

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Introducing the concept of “belief entrepreneur”, this paper offers a novel theory on endogenous belief formation under fundamental uncertainty in the sense of textcite{Knight1921}. We consider a generic setup in which individuals must choose between a tested approach (supplied by a “defender”) and a competing innovative approach (supplied by an “innovator”). While the innovation is promising, its true merits are uncertain (e.g., financial engineering in the 1990s). Facing an ambiguous choice, individuals are susceptible to narratives. The innovator and defender thus act as competing belief entrepreneurs who engage in a narrative contest whose outcome shapes individual prior beliefs. We clarify the conditions under which the contest outcome predominantly reflects information on the merits of the innovation---and when other factors, such as the entrepreneurs’ payoffs, dominate. Our analysis may be helpful to regulators that have to grapple with innovations whose fundamentals they do not know any better than the public.

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Abstract: What are the roles of bottom-up and top-down signals in the formation of climate change policy preferences? Using a large sample of American residents (n = 1520) and combining an experimental manipulation of descriptive social norms with two choice experiments, we investigate the effects of descriptive norms and policy endorsements by key political actors on climate policy support. We study these questions in two areas considered to be central in a number of decarbonization pathways: the phase-out of fossil fuel-powered cars and the deployment of carbon capture and storage. Our study provides two important results. First, social norm interventions may be no silver bullet for increasing citizens’ support for ambitious climate policies. In fact, we not only find that climate policy support is unaffected by norm messages communicating an increased diffusion of pro-environmental behaviors, but also that norm messages communicating the prevalence of non-sustainable behaviors decrease policy support. Second, in the presence of policy endorsements by political parties, citizens’ trust in these parties influences their support for climate policies. This study contributes to research in behavioral climate policy by examining the impact of descriptive norms and elite cues on climate policy support.

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Business school rankings have been criticized, to blindly “follow the money” with their strong focus on salaries and economic performance, thereby reflecting the values and expectations of the times the rankings were created. Rankings are increasingly seen as out of touch with changing demands on business and business schools to address issues of social impact and sustainability. The newly created Positive Impact Rating for Business Schools (PIR) provides an answer to these demands. This paper presents a case study on the new PIR. It first provides an overview of the critique of current business school rankings. It highlights emerging trends towards including social impact and sustainability in the business school landscape, with a focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, research initiatives, accreditations, and rankings. It then presents and discusses in detail the new PIR launched in January 2020 at the WEF in Davos and its initial reception. This new “by students and for students” rating reaches out to students to assess their own business schools on how they perceive them in creating a positive impact on and for the world.

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Carbon lock-in hampers the realisation of sustainable energy systems. It occurs when carbon-intensive technologies, markets and institutions co-evolve and become wedded to historical trajectories despite environmentally superior technologies being available. Multiple material and non-material causes are discussed in literature on socio-technical or energy transitions and carbon lock-in. However, these are yet to be synthesised into a comprehensive framework to guide the empirical identification of lock-in factors. Also, empirical understanding into how various causes of lock-in can interact is limited. To deepen understanding into the various types of socio-technical lock-in affecting energy transitions, we develop an encompassing analytical framework accounting for material, human, non-material and exogenous factors. In addition to carbon lock-in and path dependency, we synthesise diverse literature encompassing sustainability transitions, energy policy, innovation and firm management, economics and political economy. The resultant framework provides a finer-grained and more comprehensive understanding of lock-in than previous studies. Using Japan as a case study, we then apply this framework with two questions in mind: (i) What factors are contributing to the perpetuation of coal power in Japan? and ii) What opportunities emerge to overcome these? The empirical analysis is informed by triangulated data involving 46 semi-structured interviews and diverse documents. Our findings reveal a wide array of interacting factors that contribute to the perpetuation of coal-power in Japan and several emerging opportunities to tackle these. They also demonstrate our framework’s utility as a heuristic that scholars could apply to other cases to increase empirical understanding into the multiple causes of socio-technical lock-in.

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Academic studies and recent social movements alike highlight the importance of changing flying behavior for reaching global climate goals. A particularly effective strategy for minimizing transport-related CO2 emissions is to substitute flights with train travel. The same trip causes around 80–90% less CO2 emissions by train than by plane. The results of this paper are based on two independent samples, the first representing the Swiss population, the second one including international business students. Both empirical studies consistently show that respondents who are familiar with train travel are also more prone to consider the train as an alternative for international, long-distance trips. Furthermore, both studies find systematic differences when it comes to travel time perceptions of likely air and train travelers: While people who are inclined to travel by plane see a high value in minimizing the total travel time of their journey, likely train travelers put less emphasis on minimizing total travel time. At the same time, prospective train travelers find it highly important to be able to use their travel time productively, which does not seem to be the case for potential air travelers. As consumer insights about the willingness to substitute flying with train travel are rare, the results of this paper build a basis for developing communication strategies and policies aiming at increasing low-carbon travel mode choices.

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In the era of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and calls for climate action, business is challenged to respond more effectively to societal and environmental challenges. Collaboration with stakeholders requires an ability for broader collaboration competencies. These form a part of an established literature on responsible leadership (RL) competencies. Human resources managers, consultants and educators in charge of developing such competencies demand clarity on the definition and a practical measurement tool for RL. This paper addresses both by proposing a RL definition and a RL competency model, that has been operationalized into a free online tool for individuals and groups. This free Competency Assessment for Responsible Leadership (CARL) tool is used to assess stakeholder engagement, individual and group leadership development, and internal sustainable development transformation work. The CARL online tool serves to systematically analyze and develop RL competencies, both in business and educational practices, and helps advance the RL theory based on insights from practice

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Electric vehicles (EV) are critical to fulfilling global climate goals. Despite their environmental and societal benefits, only 2.2% of cars sold worldwide in 2018 were electric. To understand the reasons for the low level of EV purchasing and help define measures for more effectively promoting their sales, the vehicle purchase process should be understood. For this purpose, we studied consumer behavior literature and conducted an online survey of 553 Swiss car owners. This resulted in the generation of a novel conceptual framework of the vehicle purchase process. This consists of five stages that are underlined by differentiated decision-making strategies. Second, the results show that car dealers play a critical role at all stages of the process, but remain a barrier to EV sales. Finally, the importance of a plurality of specific information sources and of the existence of charging options is significantly correlated to EV consideration. Based on these findings, touchpoints for electric mobility at relevant stages of the vehicle purchase process are identified, and policy interventions for more effectively promoting EV sales in Switzerland are suggested.

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Abstract: What motivated national governments to join the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), a climate club founded in 2010? And to what extent have the club members participated in policy initiatives developed by the CEM? Our analysis shows that combinations of (a) the expected benefits of club membership and (b) the leadership of the USA induced the governments of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to join the CEM. The importance of these two factors varied across countries. Participation levels in the CEM’s policy initiatives varied over time. While this variation happened in a ‘proportionate’ manner for Australia, Canada and China, we observed singular instances of ‘disproportionate’ changes in levels of policy effort for the UAE and Brazil. Overall, our findings suggest that climate clubs constrain the behaviour of its members by discouraging them from engaging in sustained policy under-reactions.

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Promoting low-carbon innovation has long been a central preoccupation within both the practice and theory of climate change mitigation. However, deep lock-ins indicate that existing carbon-intensive systems will not be displaced or reconfigured by innovation alone. A growing number of studies and practical initiatives suggest that mitigation efforts will need to engage with the deliberate decline of carbon-intensive systems and their components (e.g., technologies and practices). Yet, despite this realisation, the role of intentional decline in decarbonization remains poorly understood and the literature in this area continues to be dispersed among different bodies of research and disciplines. In response, this article structures the fragmented strands of research engaging with purposive decline, interrogating the role it may play in decarbonization. It does so by systematically surveying concepts with particular relevance for intentional decline, focusing on phase-out, divestment, and destabilization.

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Several countries are witnessing increasing levels of local opposition to wind energy projects. This is in contrast to opinion polls often showing that a large majority of the population is supportive of low-carbon policies, including deployment of wind energy. At the same time, project developers and policymakers are realising that social acceptance has an emotional component, but struggle to find ways to manage this phenomenon. We surveyed a representative sample of Swiss residents (n = 1111) using affective imagery, asking respondents to list their spontaneous associations with wind power and provide an affective evaluation of each association. We find a strong correlation between the affective imagery and respondents’ likelihood to express concern about local wind projects, suggesting that affect matters in the formation of attitudes towards local wind energy projects. An in-depth analysis of the sequencing of affective imagery highlights that mild opponents have conflicting feelings about wind energy, and that “second thoughts” appear to tip the balance towards opposition for them. The study further reveals that important differences exist between mild and strong opponents, providing a basis for the segmentation of target groups in managing processes of social acceptance.

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This study links voter-centred and interest group perspectives to assess the role structurally powerful businesses can play in contested political issues. Revisiting the literature on business influence in politics, incumbent businesses are theorised to strategically use their structural power to influence voters’ preferences. The conceptual framework is illustrated with a case study of a direct democratic vote related to Swiss energy policy. To empirically trace the role incumbent businesses played in the run-up to the vote, the study employs a two-step approach. First, it uses discourse network analysis (DNA) to examine arguments and actor coalitions in the public debate preceding the vote. Second, the DNA results inform a statistical analysis of survey data on voting behaviour. The findings suggest that incumbent businesses can use their structural power strategically to shape voting behaviour. The study stimulates the discussion about political power relationships in societies and enriches the nascent debate about phasing out unsustainable energy infrastructure. Importantly, it opens up ways to combine DNA with other methods, an avenue that shows promise for use and further refinement in future applications.

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Electric vehicles (EV) are critical to fulfil climate goals. Despite societal and technological benefits, Swiss EV market share was only 1.8% in 2018. To understand the reasons for the limited EV sales and propose measures how to increase them, vehicle purchase process has to be analysed. For that, a mixed method research combining narrative literature review and an online survey of 553 Swiss car drivers was conducted. The conclusions firstly deliver a novel, conceptual framework of the vehicle purchase process. It consists of five stages both prior and after the purchase that are underlined by differentiated decision-making strategies. Secondly, key influences in the process have been identified. Based on these findings, touchpoints in individual stages of the purchase process to more effectively promote EV sales in Switzerland have been recommended, namely fostering consultation of a plurality of information sources, car dealer EV training programs and EV use-based incentives.

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Der Wandel im Elektrizitätssektor tritt in eine neue Phase ein, die durch eine beschleunigte Entwicklung und disruptive Veränderungen gekennzeichnet ist (Johnstone et al., 2020; Markard, 2018). Wind- und Solarenergie haben sich zu kostengünstigen Alternativen entwickelt. Elektrofahrzeuge sind auf dem Vormarsch. Privat- sowie Geschäftskunden erzeugen zunehmend ihren eigenen Strom und werden so zu «Prosumers». Darüber hinaus eröffnet die Digitalisierung neue Geschäftsmöglichkeiten. Dezentrale Speicher und «demand side management» konkurrieren bezüglich Flexibilisierung mit der Wasserkraft, und gleichzeitig nimmt die konventionelle Strom- erzeugung mittels Kern- und Kohlekraftwerken ab (Murdock et al., 2019). All diese Entwicklungen bringen aus- serordentliche Herausforderungen mit sich. Sie bieten aber auch neue Möglichkeiten, und zwar sowohl für etablierte Energieunternehmen als auch für Neueinsteiger. Energieversorgungsunternehmen (EVUs) verfügen über eine breite Palette strategischer Optionen, um die Potenziale des derzeitigen Wandels zu nutzen (Miolo & Teufel, 2017; Mühlemeier, 2019): Sie können regional expandieren, neue Märkte erschliessen, neue Angebote entwickeln, innovative Technologien einführen oder Erfahrungen mit neuen Geschäftsmodellen sammeln. EVUs können aber auch darauf abzielen, ihr Wettbewerbs- umfeld zu beeinflussen – beispielsweise durch gezielte Akquisitionen, die Entwicklung technologischer Standards oder die Mitgestaltung regulatorischer Vorschriften (Kungl, 2015). Viele dieser Strategien bergen Unsicherheiten. Es kann daher sinnvoll sein, die Herausforderungen zusammen mit Partnern anzugehen. Für manche Strategien braucht es auch bestimmte Ressourcen und Kompetenzen, die längst nicht jedes Unternehmen besitzt (z. B. spe- zifische technologische Fähigkeiten oder Zugang zu politischen Entscheidungsträgern). Wo Kompetenzen fehlen, stehen Unternehmen vor der Herausforderung, diese Lücken zu schliessen, beispielsweise durch Kooperationen. Ob Unternehmen den Weg zur Energiewende alleine gehen oder mit anderen Unternehmen zusammenarbeiten wollen, ist eine zentrale strategische Frage (Chesbrough, 2003). Genau darum geht es im Folgenden. Koopera- tionen mit einem oder mehreren Partnern eröffnen die Möglichkeit, Zugang zu spezifischen Ressourcen und Kompetenzen zu erhalten, die auf andere Weise nur schwer zu erwerben sind, Risiken zu teilen und vorhandene Assets besser zu nutzen.

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Why do junctures become critical in some cases but not in others? Building on the critical juncture framework and perspectives on the formation and diffusion of beliefs, we develop a theoretically parsimonious and empirically traceable account of divergence in institutional outcomes. By illuminating the role of agency and joint belief shifts we further open the “black box” of critical junctures. In particular, we develop the argument that the role agents play is conditioned by conflict lines that structure an institutional field before a juncture sets in. Empirically, we trace political discourses around the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Canada, Germany, and Japan using discourse network analysis. Through comparative investigation, we empirically show that discursive interactions during potential critical junctures indicate institutional outcomes that are shaped by causally relevant historical legacies.

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Climate change is a reality. Despite increasing materialization of this phenomenon and calls for immediate action to limit its underlying causes, only a limited uptake of proenvironmental behavior has been registered so far. One of its main reasons has been concluded to be the faulty pro-environmental communication, that is in most cases built ineffectively on erroneous assumptions about the nature of human behavior. The goal of the here presented research was thus to find out, what aspects communication strategy should be built on to motivate pro-environmental behavior, individual as well as collective. Considering the need to specialize communication strategies for higher impact and their potential swing voter role in Switzerland, a female target group was selected. To answer the research question, an experiment was conducted, exposing the participants to three variations of a communication strategy, preceded and followed by an online questionnaire. The results showed that shorter and, namely, peer effects-based strategies are the most effective to motivate pro-environmental action in general and among women in particular. The conclusions of this experiment thus importantly contribute to the on-going discussion on how to effectively communicate to motivate pro-environmental action, with insightful findings for both practice and further research.

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This paper investigates the effect of two different community solar remuneration models on the overall willingness to buy of Swiss electricity customers (n=496). Based on practical observation, the two main remuneration models that dominate today’s implementation landscape for community solar were identified. The first of the former delivers solar power directly from community solar plants, while the second delivers financial compensation instead of solar power. A between-subject-design experiment applying pro-environmental behavior as approximation for intrinsic motivation demonstrated that remuneration schemes which avoid mentioning financial benefits and instead compensate customers with the solar power are particularly attractive to green electricity customers who have higher intrinsic motivation to consume pro-environmental electricity. Offering financial benefits may even discourage these customers from participating in community solar. On the other hand, offering financial benefits appeals to default electricity customers whose intrinsic motivation for pro-environmental behavior is too weak to trigger a reaction to the ecological and local benefits of community solar alone. When designing policies around community solar or implementing community solar projects, policy makers and practitioners should thus carefully analyze the customer base and its composition in order to match remuneration schemes to customer preferences.

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The Consumer Barometer of Renewable Energy provides insights into what Swiss people think about energy and climate change. The study is published annually since 2011 and is based on a representative sample of more than 1,000 respondents.

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Switzerland and the EU have been negotiating an electricity agreement since 2007. Irrespective of the outcome of these negotiations, whose success is also dependent on other factors, European energy policy will influence the framework conditions and players in Switzerland’s energy policy. The effects of a «Europeanization» of Swiss energy policy are the primary interest of this book. It focuses on the influence of current and future EU policies on the (regulatory) framework and policy instruments in Switzerland, including the effects on public and private actors active in the Swiss energy sector. It will also present the consequences of the possible integration of Swiss energy policy into the complex European multi-level governance system, taking into account two scenarios: the «direct Europeanization» in case of the conclusion of a bilateral electricity agreement between Switzerland and the EU as well as the possible «indirect Europeanization» in the sense of autonomous adjustments to European policies.

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Policies to phase out fossil fuel cars are key to averting dangerous and irreversible changes to the earth’s climate. Given the potential impacts of such policies on every-day routines and behaviours, the factors that might increase or decrease their public acceptance require investigation. Here we study the role of specific policy design features in shaping Americans’ preferences for policy proposals to phase out fossil fuel cars. In light of the urgency of action against climate change, we are specifically interested in citizens’ preferences with respect to the timing of phase-out policies. Based on a demographically representative sample of 1,520 American residents rating 24,320 hypothetical policy scenarios in a conjoint experiment, we find that Americans prefer phase-out policies to be implemented no later than 2030. Policy features other than timing are also important: higher policy costs significantly reduce public support; subsidies for alternative technologies are preferred over taxes and bans; and policy co-benefits in terms of pollution reduction increase public support only when they are substantial. The study also investigates the role of individual characteristics in shaping policy preferences, finding that perceived psychological distance of climate change and party identification influence policy preferences. The results of this study have important implications for the political feasibility of rapid decarbonization initiatives like the ‘Green New Deal’ that are now being discussed in the US and beyond. Among these is the insight that smart sequencing of policies (early implementation of subsidies for low-emission technologies, followed by tax increases and/or bans) might help ensure majority support for a fossil fuel car phase-out.

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Impressive growth rates of solar photovoltaics (PV) in higher latitudes are raising concerns about seasonal mismatches between demand and supply. Locating utility-scale PV projects in alpine regions with high solar irradiation could help to meet demand during the winter season. However, similar to wind farms, large solar projects change the landscape and may therefore face social acceptance issues. In contrast to the rich literature on wind energy, social acceptance of solar power has received less attention. This paper helps close this gap with the help of a large-scale survey (N = 1036) that examines the acceptance of alpine solar projects in Switzerland through choice experiments. In addition to attributes that are well established in the social acceptance literature, such as local ownership, along with both distributional and procedural justice, we also investigate the influence of innovative design elements on acceptance. Our findings suggest that local ownership, as well as colored solar panels that reduce the perceived landscape change may increase social acceptance, implying that projects should be kept local and low-key. We also find that acceptance of alpine solar projects is higher among the affected population than among inhabitants of non-alpine regions.

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More and more economic transactions leave a "digital footprint". This trend opens unprecedented opportunities for improving economic statistics and underpins demands to give statistical agencies far-reaching access to private-sector data. We analyze the consequences of better economic statistics in a political-agency framework that includes fundamental uncertainty about the impact of potentially welfare-enhancing reforms. We demonstrate that improvements in economic statistics can inhibit - rather than stimulate - reform attempts. With better statistics, the government is less likely to receive the "benefit of the doubt" if the numbers suggest its past reforms are failing. Reforms therefore come with a higher risk of electoral losses, implying that the government has stronger incentives to preserve the status quo. We identify political environments that are particularly vulnerable to this mechanism and contribute to the debate on private-sector data access.

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Business-as-usual is likely to drive us to an unsustainable world. To solve the problems human industrial activity has created, such as climate change, species extinction, and biodiversity loss, business leaders (CEOs, top managers, and boards of directors) must be central to the solution for corporate sustainability (CS). In particular, ‘heroic’ leaders are needed to transform their companies into business beyond usual. In this essay, we briefly outline what researchers already know about microfoundational or socio-cognitive and motivational underpinnings of leaders that affect CS. However, gaps remain in our understanding of affective drivers and values of leaders. We question whether microfoundations research has the potential to understand true business transformation for positive deviance and suggest that positive organizational scholarship and research on sustainability change agents can provide insights. We next highlight how empirical and research design shortcomings might be addressed. Finally, we discuss how to identify, develop, and empower leaders with transformational potential so that we can proactively create heroic leaders rather than wait for them to magically appear.

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Welche Business Schools haben positive Auswirkungen auf die Gesellschaft? Dieser Frage geht das neue Positive Impact Rating, kurz PIR, nach und holte dafür die Meinung der Studierenden ein. Professor Thomas Dyllick, Mitglied des Supervisory Board der PIR Association, erläutert die Hintergründe.

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Electric vehicles (EV) are critical to fulfil global climate goals. Despite their societal and technological benefits, only 2.2% of cars sold worldwide in 2018 were electric. To understand the reasons for limited EV purchases and propose measures how to more effectively promote them, the vehicle purchase process has to be analyzed. For this purpose, a mixed methods research combining a narrative literature review and an online survey of 553 Swiss car drivers was conducted. The results firstly generate a novel, conceptual framework of the vehicle purchase process. It consists of five stages both prior and after the purchase that are underlined by differentiated decision-making strategies. Secondly, the key influences in the process are identified, namely, car dealers and a plurality of information sources.Based on these findings, touchpoints at relevant stages of the vehicle purchase process to more effectively promote EV sales in Switzerland are recommended to policy makers.

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