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Are experienced people affected by a pre-set default option—Results from a field experiment

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  • Löfgren, Åsa
  • Martinsson, Peter
  • Hennlock, Magnus
  • Sterner, Thomas

Abstract

The objective of the present paper is to investigate the robustness of the well-known result that pre-set default options determine people's choices. We do so by conducting a field experiment among environmental economists attending a large international conference on environmental economics. The participants were, at the time of registration, randomly allocated to different treatments related to carbon offsetting. What differs from earlier default studies is that our subjects have good knowledge about the good at hand. We investigate whether the choices of these experienced individuals are affected by a pre-set default option, and we also study the effect of a treatment with no pre-set default option. Our results, together with previous findings, indicate that the effect of a default option attenuates with experience.

Suggested Citation

  • Löfgren, Åsa & Martinsson, Peter & Hennlock, Magnus & Sterner, Thomas, 2012. "Are experienced people affected by a pre-set default option—Results from a field experiment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 66-72.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:63:y:2012:i:1:p:66-72
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2011.06.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Altmann, Steffen & Falk, Armin & Heidhues, Paul & Jayaraman, Raji, 2014. "Defaults and Donations: Evidence from a Field Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 10303, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Schubert, Christian, 2017. "Green nudges: Do they work? Are they ethical?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 329-342.
    3. Cox, James C. & Sadiraj, Vjollca & Schnier, Kurt E. & Sweeney, John F., 2016. "Higher quality and lower cost from improving hospital discharge decision making," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 1-16.
    4. Gravert, Christina & Kurz, Verena, 2017. "Nudging à la carte – A field experiment on food choice," Working Papers in Economics 690, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2017.
    5. Brown, Zachary & Johnstone, Nick & Haščič, Ivan & Vong, Laura & Barascud, Francis, 2013. "Testing the effect of defaults on the thermostat settings of OECD employees," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 128-134.
    6. Cappelletti, Dominique & Mittone, Luigi & Ploner, Matteo, 2014. "Are default contributions sticky? An experimental analysis of defaults in public goods provision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 331-342.
    7. Takanori Ida & Wenjie Wang, 2014. "A Field Experiment on Dynamic Electricity Pricing in Los Alamos:Opt-in Versus Opt-out," Discussion papers e-14-010, Graduate School of Economics Project Center, Kyoto University.
    8. Andrea Baranzini & Nicolas Borzykowski & Stefano Carattini, 2016. "Carbon offsets out of the woods? The acceptability of domestic vs. international reforestation programmes," GRI Working Papers 257, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    9. Stefano Carattini & Alessandro Tavoni, 2016. "How green are economists?," GRI Working Papers 247, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    10. Michael Greenstone & B. Kelsey Jack, 2013. "Envirodevonomics: A Research Agenda for a Young Field," NBER Working Papers 19426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Egebark, Johan & Ekström, Mathias, 2016. "Can indifference make the world greener?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 1-13.
    12. Stefano Carattini & Alessandro Tavoni, 2016. "How green are green economists?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(4), pages 2311-2323.
    13. Brown, Zachary & Johnstone, Nick & Haščič, Ivan & Vong, Laura & Barascud, Francis, 2013. "Testing the effect of defaults on the thermostat settings of OECD employees," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 128-134.
    14. Kesternich, Martin & Römer, Daniel & Flues, Florens, 2016. "The power of active choice: Field experimental evidence on repeated contribution decisions to a carbon offsetting program," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-091, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    15. Baranzini, Andrea & Borzykowski, Nicolas & Carattini, Stefano, 2018. "Carbon offsets out of the woods? Acceptability of domestic vs. international reforestation programmes in the lab," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 1-12.
    16. Tanya O�Garra & Susanna Mourato, 2013. "An Experimental Investigation of the Impacts of Persuasion and Information Acquisition on Non-Use Values for Climate Change Adaptation," GRI Working Papers 125, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    17. Kesternich, Martin & Löschel, Andreas & Römer, Daniel, 2016. "The long-term impact of matching and rebate subsidies when public goods are impure: Field experimental evidence from the carbon offsetting market," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 70-78.
    18. Jorge Araña & Carmelo León, 2013. "Can Defaults Save the Climate? Evidence from a Field Experiment on Carbon Offsetting Programs," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 54(4), pages 613-626, April.
    19. Kurz, Verena, 2017. "Nudging to reduce meat consumption: Immediate and persistent effects of an intervention at a university restaurant," Working Papers in Economics 712, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

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    Keywords

    CO2 offsetting; Default option; Field experiment; Public goods;

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