Behind the veil of ignorance: Self-serving bias in climate change negotiations
AbstractSlowing climate change will almost certainly require a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, but agreement on who should reduce emissions by how much is difficult, in part because of the self-serving bias---the tendency to believe that what is beneficial to oneself is also fair. Conducting surveys among college students in the United States and China, we show that each of these groups displays a nationalistic self-serving bias in judgments of a fair distribution of economic burdens resulting from mitigation. Yet, we also show, by disguising the problem and the identity of the parties, that it is possible to elicit perceptions of fairness that are not influenced by national interests. Our research reveals that the self-serving bias plays a major role in the difficulty of obtaining agreement on how to implement emissions reductions. That is, the disagreement over what constitutes fair climate policy does not appear to be due to cross-national differences in what constitutes a fair distribution of burdens. Interventions to mitigate the self-serving bias may facilitate agreement.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Society for Judgment and Decision Making in its journal Judgment and Decision Making.
Volume (Year): 6 (2011)
Issue (Month): 7 (October)
Contact details of provider:
self-serving bias; climate change; negotiation; fairness; veil of ignorance.;
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Alessandro Tavoni & Astrid Dannenberg & Giorgos Kallis & Andreas Löschel, 2011.
"Inequality, communication and the avoidance of disastrous climate change,"
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers
34, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
- Alessandro Tavoni & Astrid Dannenberg & Giorgos Kallis & Andreas LÃ¶schel, 2011. "Inequality, Communication and the Avoidance of Disastrous Climate Change," CCEP Working Papers 1103, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
- Loewenstein, George, et al, 1993. "Self-Serving Assessments of Fairness and Pretrial Bargaining," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 135-59, January.
- Andreas Lange & Andreas Löschel & Carsten Vogt & Andreas Ziegler, 2009.
"On the Self-interested Use of Equity in International Climate Negotiations,"
NBER Working Papers
14930, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lange, Andreas & Löschel, Andreas & Vogt, Carsten & Ziegler, Andreas, 2010. "On the self-interested use of equity in international climate negotiations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 359-375, April.
- Babcock, Linda, et al, 1995. "Biased Judgments of Fairness in Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1337-43, December.
- James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
- Rabin, Matthew, 1995.
"Moral Preferences, Moral Constraints, and Self-Serving Biases,"
Department of Economics, Working Paper Series
qt97r6t5vf, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Matthew Rabin., 1995. "Moral Preferences, Moral Constraints, and Self-Serving Biases," Economics Working Papers 95-241, University of California at Berkeley.
- John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
- Bell,David E. & Raiffa,Howard & Tversky,Amos (ed.), 1989. "Decision Making," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521368513, December.
- William D. Nordhaus, 2006. "The "Stern Review" on the Economics of Climate Change," NBER Working Papers 12741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Farmer, Amy & Pecorino, Paul, 2002. "Pretrial bargaining with self-serving bias and asymmetric information," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 163-176, June.
- Rafael Di Tella & Sebastian Galiani & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2007. "The Formation of Beliefs: Evidence from the Allocation of Land Titles to Squatters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 209-241, 02.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jonathan Baron).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.