In developed countries, the largest share of food is wasted at the household level. Household food waste results from a complex interaction between economic factors, well-established routines, and social norms. To explain this interaction, we propose a simple model of waste behavior where the individual and social economic costs generated by wasting are counterbalanced by the security and status generated through acquiring excess food, thus causing a social dilemma. This trade-off is mediated by social capital, which measures the intensity with which each individual within a community evaluates the negative effects of waste. We test this model's hypotheses using a 2016 dataset of food behaviors and opinions of Italian households, which we merge with variables known to elicit the local level of social capital. We find individual food waste levels to be negatively related with social capital. Contrastingly, status concerns with respect to food and the lack of organizational abilities are both more prevalent in low social capital areas, and are related to increased food waste. This relationship is mediated by income.

Community social capital and status: The social dilemma of food waste

Pancotto F.;Vittuari M.;Setti M.
2021

Abstract

In developed countries, the largest share of food is wasted at the household level. Household food waste results from a complex interaction between economic factors, well-established routines, and social norms. To explain this interaction, we propose a simple model of waste behavior where the individual and social economic costs generated by wasting are counterbalanced by the security and status generated through acquiring excess food, thus causing a social dilemma. This trade-off is mediated by social capital, which measures the intensity with which each individual within a community evaluates the negative effects of waste. We test this model's hypotheses using a 2016 dataset of food behaviors and opinions of Italian households, which we merge with variables known to elicit the local level of social capital. We find individual food waste levels to be negatively related with social capital. Contrastingly, status concerns with respect to food and the lack of organizational abilities are both more prevalent in low social capital areas, and are related to increased food waste. This relationship is mediated by income.
Piras S.; Pancotto F.; Righi S.; Vittuari M.; Setti M.
File in questo prodotto:
Eventuali allegati, non sono esposti

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/818944
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 6
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 7
social impact