Consumer food waste, like many environmental behaviours, takes place in private, and is not directly subject to social monitoring. Nevertheless, social interactions can affect private opinions and behaviours. This paper builds an agent-based model of interactions between consumers heterogeneous in their sociability, their initial opinions and behaviours related to food waste, and their willingness to consider different opinions, in order to assess how social interactions can affect private behaviours. Compared to existing models of opinion dynamics, we innovate by including a range of "cognitive dissonance" between stated opinions and actual behaviours that consumers are willing to accept before changing one of the two. We calibrate the model using questionnaire data on household food waste in Italy. We find that a limited degree of mixing between different socio-demographic groups, namely adult and young consumers, is enough to trigger change, but a certain openness of mind is required from more wasteful individuals....

You do not currently have access to this content.