Monday, October 28, 4:45PM
University Events Room

Glickman Family Library, 7th floor
Portland USM Campus (map)



Click here to listen to Dr. Noblet's talk.





External and internal motivators play important roles in affecting individual environmentally responsible behavior. Responsible behaviors can range from curtailment behaviors (e.g. reducing consumption, reduce use of fossil fueled items such as cars, recycling) and eco-adoption behaviors (everything from light bulbs to electric cars), to purchasing environmentally labeled or preferred products. These personal behaviors send important signals to industry and government about consumer preferences for natural resources and future societal investments, and policy makers need to recognize and understand them in order to improve the effectiveness of policy initiatives.

Important policy implications can result from carefully considering the unique circumstances driving, and resulting from, environmentally responsible behavior (ERB). Dr. Noblet’s presentation will demonstrate this generally and, in particular, based on research about whether green consumerism in Maine increases the acceptance of wind power: Thøgersen, John and Caroline L. Noblet. 2012. Does Green Consumerism increase the acceptance of windpower? Energy Policy 51, 854-862. (click here for an earlier version of the full article)

Decision makers should recognize that individuals take advantage of policy initiatives in different ways. These policy initiatives include infrastructure changes, behavioral incentives or punishments or mandates in different ways. Only by understanding what drives individuals towards (or away from) ERB can broadly effective policy instruments be designed.

‘Hard policy’ involves structural or incentive interventions that change the infrastructure or incentives available to people. Such hard policy initiatives – for example, public transportation availability or the price of vehicle travel with congestion charging – often requires involuntary changes in behavior. Changing the price and availability of different products or behaviors is consistent with economic analyses which suggests that these factors play important roles in determining choice.

‘Soft policy’ psychological interventions aim at changing perceptions of, or beliefs about, ERB in order to motivate voluntary changes. There is increasing recognition that these interdisciplinary methods may best tackle the complexity of problems facing sustainability science. Dr. Noblet’s discussion will focus on the factors impacting individual environmental behavior, including newly developed metrics and experiments used in several new projects.

Caroline Noblet is a Maine native who is pleased to have the opportunity to come home and serve the state she loves. Dr. Noblet has been a faculty member of the University of Maine’s School of Economics since 2007 specializing in environmental economic psychology. She enjoys studying natural resource decision making, with a particular focus on how people process and utilize environmental information. Her research extends current economic models to include interdisciplinary constructs, hypotheses and methods, with a focus on environmental and health information and an eye towards future design of information policies. Dr. Noblet is always interested in considering the changing environmental and economic landscape of her home state and how Maine can be proactive in developing a sustainable future that addresses social, environmental and economic needs.

She is currently working on several initiatives, including a project with colleagues from the Sustainability Solutions Initiative that has received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) EPSCoR program [ME-0904155] to examine the acceptance of energy alternatives in Maine. Within this project she seeks to understand the role of environmental motivation, outdoor recreational experience, economic stress and other factors as influences on acceptance of energy options and other environmental behaviors. As part of the National Science Foundation Sustainable Energy Pathways grant team she examines economically, environmentally and socially sustainable pathways for developing drop-in biofuels from woody biomass.

Dr. Noblet is pleased to work with the Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition to examine food safety trends and health behavior. In pursuing her interest to work with Maine entities, she recently completed work, in collaboration with colleagues and the Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine (E2Tech) examining Maine’s growing Clean Technology Sector. Her work is also funded by the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station. Dr. Noblet enjoys teaching a variety of courses focused on economics, environmental economics and energy. Her introductory courses provide an opportunity to meet students early in their college career – a perfect time to start considering a major in economics! She is proud to have been awarded the 2012 Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award from the University of Maine’s College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture.

The colloquium is sponsored by the
L.L. Bean/
Lee Surace Endowed Chair in Accounting.

USM Professor Jeffrey Gramlich was appointed the first L.L. Bean/Lee Surace Chair in Accounting in the USM School of Business in 2003. His appointment was made possible by a $1 million gift from L.L. Bean, Inc., its board chair, Leon Gorman, his wife Lisa, Jim and Maureen Gorman, and Tom Gorman, who established the chair in memory of L.L. Bean CFO Lee Surace '73, '81, who died in March of 2001. Surace was chair of the USM School of Business' Advisory Council and was a frequent guest lecturer.

The USM School of Business is accredited by AACSB International. For students seeking the finest education and companies seeking the highest caliber talent, partnership, and educational opportunities, AACSB International accreditation is one of the most important affirmations of sustained quality in the world. For more information about School of Business programs, call 780-4020.

M President