Scholarly article on topic 'The Influence of Reward and Penalty on Households’ Recycling Intention'

The Influence of Reward and Penalty on Households’ Recycling Intention Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

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Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — Farshad Amini, Jasmine Ahmad, Abdul Rauf Ambali

Abstract The objective of this paper is to investigate the influences of economic instruments on households’ recycling intention in order to help Malaysian government to apply a proper intervention in advancing and enforcing recycling regulations. The Reasoned Action Approach (RAA) was used in this research to investigate the effects of intervention factors on households’ recycling intention. 384 participants were selected and questionnaires were utilized to collect data relating to the influences of reward and penalty on households’ recycling intention in Kuala Lumpur. The results showed that both reward and penalty has significant relationship with households’ recycling intention (reward β= 0.355, p< 0.001; penalty β= 0.214, p<0.001) while reward significantly influence attitude (β= 0.414, p<0.001) and penalty influence perceived behavioural control (β= -0.340, p<0.001). Moreover, the result showed perceived behavioural control as the weakest factor influencing households’ recycling intention (β= 0.160, p<0.05). The results of this study indicate that penalty is a proper intervention to increase households’ recycling intention in Kuala Lumpur.

Academic research paper on topic "The Influence of Reward and Penalty on Households’ Recycling Intention"

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APCBEE Procedía 10 (2014) 187 - 192

ICESD 2014: February 19-21, Singapore

The Influence of Reward and Penalty on Households' Recycling

Intention

Farshad Amini, Jasmine Ahmada and Abdul Rauf Ambali

a' Faculty of Administrative Science and Policy Studies, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Selangor b Centre for Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Selangor

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to investigate the influences of economic instruments on households' recycling intention in order to help Malaysian government to apply a proper intervention in advancing and enforcing recycling regulations. The Reasoned Action Approach (RAA) was used in this research to investigate the effects of intervention factors on households' recycling intention. 384 participants were selected and questionnaires were utilized to collect data relating to the influences of reward and penalty on households' recycling intention in Kuala Lumpur. The results showed that both reward and penalty has significant relationship with households' recycling intention (reward p= 0.355, p< 0.001; penalty P= 0.214, p<0.001) while reward significantly influence attitude (p= 0.414, p<0.001) and penalty influence perceived behavioural control (p= -0.340, p<0.001). Moreover, the result showed perceived behavioural control as the weakest factor influencing households' recycling intention (p= 0.160, p<0.05). The results of this study indicate that penalty is a proper intervention to increase households' recycling intention in Kuala Lumpur.

© 2014TheAuthors. PublishedbyElsevierB.V.This isanopenaccessarticleunder the CCBY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Selection and peer review under responsibility of Asia-Pacific Chemical, Biological & Environmental Engineering Society Keywords: Recycling intention,,reason action approach, economic instrument, reward, penalty

1. Introduction

Federal governments and local authorities are continuously trying to design and examine proper policies to overcome waste issue around the world. In Malaysia, the government began to organize waste management

* Corresponding author. Tel.:+60-14-230-1829. E-mail address: farshad.amini.go@gmail.com.

2212-6708 © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Selection and peer review under responsibility of Asia-Pacific Chemical, Biological & Environmental Engineering Society doi: 10.1016/j.apcbee.2014.10.036

by working on national waste management plans. For an example, the action plan for beautiful and clean Malaysia was introduced in 1988. Similar initiatives were further included in the Eighth Malaysia Plan (20012005). Among these were programs like 'waste minimization', 'promotion of reuse', 'developing a recycling-oriented society, and 'implementation of pilot projects for recycling'. The Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010) also emphasized the continuation of reduce, reuse, recovery and recycling of waste. Likewise, National Strategic Plan on Solid Waste Management (2005) and National Solid Waste Management Policy (2006) emphasized on 3R to achieve sustainable waste management in Malaysia. Furthermore, Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act (SWPCMA) and Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation Act (SWPCMCA) were enacted in 2007 to pursue the same goals. In September 2011, the government transferred authority on waste management from local authorities to Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Department (SWPCMD) and Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation (SWPCMC). Despite all policies, plans, acts, and programs taken by the Malaysian government, the recycling rate in Kuala Lumpur is still far from the national targets. Since success of 3R activities and specially recycling programs largely depends on the community participation, therefore, investigating recycling from socio-psychological aspect can contribute to design and effective enforcement on recycling programs in Kuala Lumpur. The objective of this research is to investigate the influences of penalty and reward on households' attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, and intention toward recycling (separating at source). The findings will be beneficial for governments and policy makers in identifying and implementing appropriate economic intervention to change households' recycling intention.

2. Recycling Studies and Theories

Understanding 'recycling' and factors leading to a sustainable recycling strategy requires understanding of the concept and research in the subject matter from various aspects. The aspects on recycling includes socio-psychological, technological, policy and legislation, and economic. Meanwhile, socio-psychological studies can either show the process of existing, forming, or changing individuals' behavior toward 3R, and also factors affecting these processes. Recycling is the key of municipal solid waste management (MSWM). Hong and Narayanan (2006) define recycling as an attempt to decrease waste volume. These authors believed that compared with other recycling methods, separation at source is the cheaper recycling method but it needs more public participation [1]. Recycling at source or source separation is basically more dependent on households than government, while the role of government and mechanical machines are more important in material recovery facilities. Furthermore, achieving the goal of recycling program largely depends on society participation in separating recyclable material. Therefore, it is crucial to find the fundamental factors affecting households' recycling intention and behaviour. In this line, several socio-psychological studies have been conducted to investigate recycling behavior and factors affecting recycling participation. Two of the most famous and efficient psychological theories which mostly used for conducting this kind of studies are Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) and Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) [2][3]. The theory of reasoned action was introduced by Fishbein and Ajzen (1975). In the TRA conceptual framework, beliefs are the fundamental and constructional block [4]. Based on TRA, if a person evaluate a behaviour positively (attitude), and believe that people who are important to him/her want him/her to carry out the behaviour (subjective norm), the person will be motivated to perform the behaviour (intention) and consequently they are more likely to carry out the behaviour. Over the years, some studies which had used TRA showed that behavioral intention does not always leads to actual behaviour (regarding to context limitations). Ajzen developed the extension of TRA and proposed new theory named theory of planned behavior (TPB). According to Ajzen (1991), the TPB combines some of the central concepts in the social and behavior sciences. It defines these concepts in a way by which prediction and understanding of particular behaviors in specified circumstance will be possible [2].

Ajzen added a new predicting component, namely perceived behavioral control to TRA and extended it for predicting actual intention and behavior. According to Ajzen (2009), perceived behavioral control is resulted by control belief, which consists of belief about the presence factors that may facilitate or impede the performance of the behavior and the perceived power of these factors [5]. In addition the RAA assumes attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioural control reasonably follow behavioural, normative, and control beliefs. These beliefs originated from variety of sources called background factors (i.e. reward and penalty). Once a set of belief is influenced by background factors and they are formed, it provides a cognitive foundation from which attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural controls and ultimately intentions and behaviours are assumed to follow in a reasonable and consistent direction [5].

3. Penalty and Reward

Penalty refers to a punishment imposed for breaking a law, rule, or contract. In policy, penalty is categorized as economic instruments which intend to improve a certain behavioural target. In this study penalty is considered as monetary fine which is assigned for individuals who abstain from separating recyclable materials at source. Reward refers to anything given in recognition of service, effort, or achievement. In policy, reward is categorized as economic instruments which improve a certain behavioural target. In this study reward refers to monetary incentives which will be offered to individuals for separating recyclable materials at source. Reward and penalty is measured in the questionnaire as follows: Penalty captures any form of charge imposed by government or competent authorities for abstaining recycling; for example, charges for extra bags of waste and monetary fine. Reward captures any kind of incentives given by government or competent authorities for recycling (separating recyclable materials from waste at home), for example, free bags, free containers, vouchers, or monetary payment.

4. Methodology

This study is a correlation research which employed a cross-sectional quantitative design to investigate the influences of penalty and reward on households' recycling intention. The units of analysis are households who live in Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. This study used the sampling formula suggested by Krejcie and Morgan [6]. Based on this formula and considering number of households in Kuala Lumpur (436,865 households in 2010), 384 participants were selected and divided into 11 Kuala Lumpur municipal districts. The set of questionnaire consist of close-ended self-report measures with Likert's seven point interval scales (from extremely agree to extremely disagree), recommended by Fishbein and Ajzen (2009) [5] and Tonglet et al (2004) [7], were utilized to collect related data. Data were analysed by mean of Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS).

5. Findings and discussion

Majority of the respondents in this study were male (51.6%), 25-34 year-olds (33.9%), Malay (71.4%), university education (32.3%). The major types of employment were slightly close 30.5% in the government sector and 29.2% from the private sector. Majority of households (226 households) were living in apartments (58.9%) and 199 households were tenant (51.8%). In addition, households had population from 1-11 persons with the majority of 0-2 persons (82.8%), and 1-3 school/university children (47.5%). The result of factor analysis, reliability analysis, normality test, and correlation test shows that measures are free of problem. Then several multiple regression analyses were conducted to find the effects of independents variables (reward and penalty) on each of mediators (attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control) and on

dependent variable (recycling intention). The results of these regressions are summarized in Table 1. As it is shown in Table 1, both reward and penalty have significant relationship with attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioural control but relationship between reward and attitude are more stronger and significant than other variables (P= 0.414, p<0.001). It also shows that penalty has a strong and significant relationship with perceived behavioural control (P= -0.340, p<0.001). Moreover, it shows that reward has a stronger relationship with recycling intention (P= 0.355, p<0.001) rather than penalty (P= 0.214, p<0.001). The significant relationship between intervention factors (penalty and reward) and psychological factors (attitude, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control) are aligned with the RAA model presented by Fishbein and Ajzen (2009) in which attitude, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control and their related beliefs are originated from background factors like interventions, media, education, income, personality and etc.

Table 1. Influences of Penalty and Reward (IVs) on Psychological Factors (MVs) and on recycling intention (DV) and influence of on Psychological Factors (MVs) on recycling intention (DV)

Variables Attitude (MV1) Subjective Norm (MV2) Behavioural Control (MV3) Recycling Intention (DV)

Influences of IVs on MVs and DV

Penalty (IV1) 0.231** 0.249** -0.340** 0.214**

Reward (IV2) 0.414** 0.300** -0.105* 0.355**

Influences of MVs and DV

Attitude (MV1) - - - 0.508**

Subjective Norm (MV2) - - - 0.368**

Behavioural Control (MV3) - - - 0.168*

(**) Significant at p < 0.001, (*) Significant at p < 0.05

Based on the result, reward highly affects attitude and every unit increase in reward can increase attitude towards recycling by 41.4 percent. This means that providing reward for households would positively change their behavioural beliefs and form the positive attitude toward recycling. Also it means that respondents have a positive perception of reward as an economic instrument. This finding is consistent with the finding of the study done by Shaw and Maynard [8]. They investigated the potential of financial incentives to enhance householders' kerbside recycling behaviour in London, and found that respondents have positive attitude towards reward for increasing recycling behaviour in their community. Positive perception of reward in these two studies show that reward can increase recycling behaviour in both communities, community in which the majority is recycler (UK) and community in which the majority is non-recycler (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur). In addition, findings show that penalty highly affects perceived behavioural control. Every unit increase in penalty can decrease households' perception of difficulties and impossibility of recycling by 34 percent (as pointed in the abstract). As shown in Table 1 (Influences of MVs on DV), perceived behavioural control is the weakest psychological factor in predicting recycling intention (P= 0.168, p<0.002) and every unit increase in perceived behavioural control can increase recycling intention by 16.8 percent. Thus, in the same line, Fishbein and Ajzen (2009) contend for changing behaviour, the weakest prediction factor is the best factor to design a proper intervention [5].

6. Conclusion and recommendation

Findings of this study provide opportunity to determine how penalty and reward influence recycling intention. The findings are useful for designing suitable recycling policies and programs based on the weakest or strongest factor influencing recycling intention in Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. In the scope of this research, households perceived negative control on their ability to separate recyclable materials at source, probably because of the absence of any systematic recycling program like kerbside recycling schemes. This assumption is supported by weak relationship between perceived behavioural control and recycling intention. Moreover, households have strong positive believes toward recycling which is supported by strong relationship between attitude and recycling intention. These findings provide the federal governments and policymakers to choose either penalty or reward for increasing households' recycling intention in Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. Considering strong influence from penalty on perceived behavioural control and the weak relationship between behavioural control and recycling intention, it is suggested to design penalty-based policies and programs in order to increasing households' positive perception about the amount of control they have over separating recyclable materials from waste at home. Besides, considering strong influence from reward on attitude and from attitude on recycling intention, it could be another option for governments and policymakers to choose reward as a suitable intervention for designing a proper policy in order to increase recycling intention and behaviour in Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. Moreover, although there are reward-based programs like buyback recycling center (BBC) and school recycling program (KitS) in Kuala Lumpur, none of them are well-publicized, convenient, and systematic scheme for all households. Moreover, the absences of any penalty-base programs like 'Pay as you throw' (PAYT) has token the chance of increasing recycling intention and behaviour by means of penalty as an economic instrument. The statistics of U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) show good recycling participation and waste minimization in cities where PAYT was implemented [9]. It is a good proof to confirm the advantages of using penalty-based programs in order to increasing recycling intention and behaviour. As a final point, based on the recommendation of Fishbein and Ajzen (2009) to use the weakest factor for making proper intervention in order to change a behaviour [5] and also based on finding of this study, it is recommended to the policymakers and governments to design and implement penalty-based policies and programs in order to increase recycling intention in Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.

Acknowledgments

This paper reports the partial finding of the Master's thesis. The authors would like to thank the Faculty of Administrative Science and Policy Studies, UiTM for sponsoring the fees to the conference.

References

[1] Hong, M.-C., & Narayanan, S. (2006). Restoring the Shine to a Pearl: Recycling Behaviour in Penang, Malaysia. Development and Change, 37(5), 1117-1136.

[2] Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. 50, 179-211

[3] Ajzen, I. (2005). Attitudes, personality, and behavior (2nd. ed.). Milton-Keynes, England: Open University Press / McGraw- Hill

[4] Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (1975). Belief, attitude, intention, and behavior: An introduction to theory and research. Wesley: Reading, MA: Addison.

[5] Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (2009). Predicting and changing behavior: The reasoned action approach. New York: Psychology Press (Taylor & Francis).

[6] Krejcie, R. V., & Morgan, D. W. (1970). Determining Sample Size For Research Activities. Educational and Psychological Measurement 30, 607-610.

[7] Tonglet, M., Phillips, P. S., & Read, A. D. (2004). Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour to investigate the determinants of recycling behaviour: a case study from Brixworth, UK. [doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2003.11.001]. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 41(3), 191-214.

[8] Shaw, P. J., & Maynard, S. J. (2008). The potential of financial incentives to enhance householders' kerbside recycling behaviour. [Article]. Waste Management, 28(10), 1732-1741.

[9] EPA11. Pay-As-You-Throw. from http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/tools/payt/index.htm (Retrieved March 3 2012)