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Does experience eliminate the effect of a default option? - A field experiment on CO2-offsetting for air transport. New title (when published): Are experienced people affected by a pre-set default option - Results from a field experiment

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Author Info

  • Löfgren, Åsa

    ()
    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Martinsson, Peter

    ()
    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Hennlock, Magnus

    ()
    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Sterner, Thomas

    ()
    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

Earlier research has shown that using a default option has a decisive effect on individuals’ choices. In many cases, however, the low proportion of subjects who switch from the pre-set default option might partly explained by inexperience with the goods or services offered, and high transaction costs for switching. By conducting a natural field experiment when environmental economists registered on the web to a conference, the default option to offset CO2 emissions was randomly pre-set. Either the participants had to opt-in to offset, opt-out to offset or there was no default option, i.e. an active choice had to be made with no implicit “guidance” from the default. We used experienced subjects and had low transaction costs of switching. Our findings show that the default has no significant effect on the decision to offset.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 391.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: 23 Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as Löfgren, Åsa, Peter Martinsson, Magnus Hennlock and Thomas Sterner, 'Does experience eliminate the effect of a default option? - A field experiment on CO2-offsetting for air transport. New title (when published): Are experienced people affected by a pre-set default option - Results from a field experiment.' in Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2012, pages 66-72.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0391

Note: Published in Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2012, Vol. 63, pp. 66-72
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/
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Related research

Keywords: CO2-offsetting; Default option; Field experiment; Public goods;

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