Abstract for: A causal conceptual framework on rebound effects

Rebound effects (RE) are the side effects caused by systemic responses that offset the initial intentions of sustainability-oriented action. For instance, the design of more efficient cars can lead users to drive longer distances due to money saved on refuelling. Meanwhile, sharing systems might lead users to make uncareful use of electric cars because of lack of ownership. Empirical studies recognised RE jeopardising energy and circular economy transitions. Also, several mechanisms are recognised as leading to RE occurrence in the micro-, meso-, and macro-levels. Despite the ubiquitous evidence of RE occurrence and the abundant knowledge on the topic, decision-makers are still not capable of avoiding RE, which suggests more fundamental flaws in their mental models. This work investigates the application of qualitative SD to overcome RE occurrence. Frames of reference as the dynamic complexity characteristics of systems, the dichotomy among an event-oriented vs a feedback view of the world, and the relationship between system structure and behaviour over time are employed to reach a systems understanding of RE using qualitative SD. This work sets the ground for follow-up studies using SD to identify and prevent RE occurrence.