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Walter de Gruyter

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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

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Eco-labeling of services has become increasingly common, yet little empirical evidence exists concerning its effectiveness. We address this gap in the literature by analyzing a highly visible eco-label, the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), in the sector of higher education. We match information about the ACUPCC to the US Department of Education IPEDS database to examine the impact of signing on student applications, admissions, and enrollment. We mainly utilize a difference-in-difference approach to identify the effects of interest but confirm results with an interrupted time series model. We find that signing the ACUPCC increases applications and admitted students by 2.5–3.5 %. However, the evidence regarding enrollment is weaker with only some specifications finding increases of around 1–2 %. Overall, there is considerable heterogeneity across sectors and selectivity of the institutions. These results show that, at the minimum, voluntary and information-based approaches (VIBAs) for services can be effective in generating visibility and influencing less-costly consumer behavior.


Published version. The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Vol. 16, No. 4 (October 2016). DOI. © 2016 Walter de Gruyter. Used with permission.

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