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Instrument Choice and Motivation: Evidence from a Climate Change Experiment


  • Timo Goeschl
  • Grischa Perino



Are prices or quantities the best regulatory instrument to align private actions with public interests in the presence of externalities? We add another dimension to this ongoing debate by experimentally analyzing the interaction between instrument choice and intrinsic motivation of regulated agents. The response of subjects facing a trade-off between real CO2 emissions and private monetary payoffs to both a price and a quantity instrument are tested. We find evidence that taxes crowd out intrinsic motivation while emission standards are neutral. Crowding is short term persistent and not well explained by established cognitive theories of motivational crowding.
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Suggested Citation

  • Timo Goeschl & Grischa Perino, 2012. "Instrument Choice and Motivation: Evidence from a Climate Change Experiment," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 52(2), pages 195-212, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:52:y:2012:i:2:p:195-212
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-011-9524-4

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Baranzini & Stefano Carattini, 2017. "Effectiveness, earmarking and labeling: testing the acceptability of carbon taxes with survey data," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 19(1), pages 197-227, January.
    2. Joachim Fuenfgelt & Stefan Baumgaertner, 2012. "Regulation of morally responsible agents with motivation crowding," Working Paper Series in Economics 241, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
    3. Rode, Julian & Gómez-Baggethun, Erik & Krause, Torsten, 2015. "Motivation crowding by economic incentives in conservation policy: A review of the empirical evidence," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 270-282.
    4. Hilton, Denis & Charalambides, Laetitia & Demarque, Christophe & Waroquier, Laurent & Raux, Charles, 2014. "A tax can nudge: The impact of an environmentally motivated bonus/malus fiscal system on transport preferences," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 17-27.
    5. Goytom Abraha Kahsay & Workineh Asmare Kassie & Abebe Damte Beyene & Lars Gårn Hansen, 2017. "Do public works programs crowd-out pro-environmental behavior? Empirical evidence from food-for-work programs in Ethiopia," IFRO Working Paper 2017/13, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.
    6. Grischa Perino & Luca A. Panzone & Timothy Swanson, 2014. "Motivation Crowding In Real Consumption Decisions: Who Is Messing With My Groceries?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(2), pages 592-607, April.
    7. Shaun Larcom & Luca A. Panzone & Timothy Swanson, 2017. "Follow-the-leader? Measuring the internalisation of law," CIES Research Paper series 50-2017, Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute.
    8. Grischa Perino & Luca A. Panzone & Timothy Swanson, 2011. "Crowding-in, crowding-out and over-crowding: The interaction between price and quantity based instruments and intrinsic motivation," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 11-10, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    9. Kits, Gerda J. & Adamowicz, Wiktor L. & Boxall, Peter C., 2014. "Do conservation auctions crowd out voluntary environmentally friendly activities?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 118-123.

    More about this item


    Instrument choice; Motivation crowding; Externalities; H23; H41; Q58; C91;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior


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