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What is fair? An experimental guide to climate negotiations

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  • Brick, Kerri
  • Visser, Martine

Abstract

International commitments to reduce emissions must be negotiated between countries in a manner considered to be fair or equitable. While the burden-sharing principles commonly advocated in climate negotiations reflect different views of what constitutes a fair way to distribute the abatement burden, their use can also be strategically motivated to legitimise a specific bargaining position. In this context, using a threshold public good game with a climate change framing, real monetary incentives and drawing on a sample of individuals from the United States, the European Union, China, India and South Africa, this multi-country study examines the degree to which the use of burden-sharing principles reflects material self-interest. In an initial treatment, participants, who represent the country of which they are a national, choose between various burden-sharing principles. In a subsequent treatment, drawing from Rawls׳ veil of ignorance, participants are unaware of which country they represent and are randomly allocated to a country after making their decision. A comparison of participants׳ choices across these two treatments indicates that the use of the historical and future polluter-pays rules by American and Chinese participants is consistent with material self-interest, or, in other words, self-interested use of burden-sharing principles.

Suggested Citation

  • Brick, Kerri & Visser, Martine, 2015. "What is fair? An experimental guide to climate negotiations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 79-95.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:74:y:2015:i:c:p:79-95
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2014.11.010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. G. Calzolari & M. Casari & R. Ghidoni, 2016. "Carbon is Forever: a Climate Change Experiment on Cooperation," Working Papers wp1065, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    2. Goeschl, Timo & Kettner, Sara Elisa & Lohse, Johannes & Schwieren, Christiane, 2015. "What do we learn from public good games about voluntary climate action? Evidence from an artefactual field experiment," Working Papers 0595, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    3. Waichman, Israel & Requate, Till & Karde, Markus & Milinski, Manfred, 2018. "Challenging conventional wisdom: Experimental evidence on heterogeneity and coordination in avoiding a collective catastrophic event," Economics Working Papers 2018-05, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    4. Elke D. Groh & Andreas Ziegler, 2017. "On self-interested preferences for burden sharing rules: An econometric analysis for the costs of energy policy measures," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201754, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

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