"Lifestyle Leapfrogging" in Emerging Economies: Enabling Systemic Shifts to Sustainable Consumption

Patrick Schroeder, Manisha Anantharaman

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This paper combines the concept of leapfrogging with systems-thinking approaches to outline the potentials for and barriers to enabling systemic shifts to strong sustainable consumption in the emerging economies of China and India. New urban consumers in China and India have the potential to “lifestyle leapfrog” the high impact lifestyle models of the industrialized countries while simultaneously improving their quality of life. This paper argues that by implementing systemic approaches in the consumption domains of mobility and housing, the historical trajectory of high environmental footprints of mobility and housing can be avoided. The analysis based on systems-thinking principles identifies existing barriers and possible solutions. The importance of policies for strong sustainable consumption is highlighted to induce positive feedbacks in the areas of markets and society facilitating both efficient technology uptake and behavioural changes.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Consumer Policy
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Sustainable consumption
  • Leapfrogging
  • Systems thinking
  • India
  • China


  • Arts and Humanities
  • Civic and Community Engagement
  • Curriculum and Social Inquiry
  • Inequality and Stratification

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