Due to their central role as intermediaries between capital surplus and deficit units, banks play a prominent role in the transformation towards a sustainable economic and social structure. For this reason, regulating authorities have been working on re-adjusting the incentive system for financial market players for some time. However, the open - and so far largely unexplored - question remains whether bank customers are generally willing to support this development and prefer banking products that integrate certain attributes of sustainability over classic product variants in the sense of an increased willingness to pay.
The research project addresses the aforementioned problem by means of a comprehensive and representative willingness-to-pay analysis: is there a general willingness to pay for sustainable attributes in banking products? The project focuses specifically on private customers and uses various socio-economic characteristics to explore possible differences in willingness to pay (e.g. differentiation according to gender, age, income)
The examination is carried out by means of conjoint analysis. Advantages of this method are:
- Respondents are confronted with a hypothetical selection situation which approximates a real selection situation in the best possible way. This ensures a high level of external validity.
- Conclusions about the significance of individual attributes in relation to willingness to pay are determined statistically and thus indirectly. A higher internal validity is thus possible, as it is not endangered by possible biases of direct surveys.
Together with experts from the banking sector, product configurations (attributes and their composition in product vignettes) are developed. Based on this, a questionnaire is created, which is distributed by a market research institute to a representative sample (for Germany, according to age, gender and region; at least N = 1000). This enables reliable statements about willingness to pay with regard to sustainable banking products. The size of the representative sample also allows segmentation to highlight the effects of demographic variables through multiple regression analyses.
Expected benefit / societal relevance
The transformation towards a more sustainable economic and social structure is an urgent and challenging development of change in the coming decades. Despite various regulatory efforts, this can only succeed if there is sufficient awareness among the population of the necessity of this transformation. Because of their special role as intermediaries, banks and savings banks have an essential role to play. In this respect, the expected benefit and societal relevance of the project results from initial insights into the question of whether, and in particular in which strata of the population, there is a willingness to make an individual contribution to the success of the sustainable transformation
The project is funded by the Foundation for Science ('Stiftung für die Wissenschaft')