March 8, 2017 12:00pm- – 1:00pm
Ross School of Business, R2310
Ion Bogdan Vasi, Department of Sociology, University of Iowa
Title: Here Comes the Sun. Social Movements, Industry Associations, and Consumer Behaviors in the Residential Solar Photovoltaics Market
Abstract: Despite the remarkable breadth and depth of research on social movement outcomes, relatively little attention has been given to the effect of movements on individual actions such as actual consumer behaviors. Building on theories of social movements, diffusion of innovations, and environmental sociology, the paper develops new arguments about the heterogeneous spread of a technology with societal benefits: solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The paper examines the adoption of solar PV technology by individuals in cities across the U.S. using an original data set assembled from various sources. The results show that the adoption of solar technology is influenced not only by geographic proximity but also by social movement organizations and industry associations. Yet, while some industry associations and movement organizations act as change agents that promote adoption by legitimizing the technology, others act as resistance agents that inhibit widespread adoption by delegitimizing it.