Mathematical modeling of social processes in consumer behaviour with applications to eco-products

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Nelson, Dominic
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University of Guelph

In light of rising levels of environmental concern, it is important to have tools to help study topics of environmental relevance. One such area is the development and adoption of products with low environmental impact, called eco-products or green products. We extend a static model of differentiated product markets, called the characteristics model, in order to make it more suitable for the study of eco-product markets. Using results from the emerging field of conservation psychology, we create an original dynamic model which incorporates the effects of social interaction between different types of consumers, as well as competition between producers of green and standard products. We then show that this model is useful for a variety of applications relevant to firms who produce eco-products as well as governments interested in promoting their adoption. We conclude by discussing possible avenues for future work and the expanded range of applications they would allow.

mathematical modeling, social processes, consumer behaviour, eco-products, green products