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Cooperation and Climate Change: Can Communication Facilitate the Provision of Public Goods in Heterogeneous Settings?

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  • Kerri Brick

    () (University of Cape Town)

  • Martine Visser

    () (University of Cape Town)

  • Zoe Hoven

    () (University of Cape Town)

Abstract

Abstract International and domestic efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions require a coordinated effort from heterogeneous actors. In this context, using a public good game with a climate change framing, the experiment reported here examines whether groups of heterogeneous individuals can meet a collective emission-reduction target through individual contributions. In terms of the framing, participants differ in terms of their marginal costs of abatement. The experiment consists of two games: a counterfactual baseline scenario examining the scope for voluntary cooperation and a communication game examining the role of stakeholder participation in facilitating cooperation. During the communication game, subjects are able to communicate with one another in order to coordinate contribution strategies. The results suggest that relying on the voluntary cooperation of individuals will not be sufficient to meet the mitigation target. Furthermore, while communication plays a role in promoting cooperation, even when heterogeneity is present, the non-binding nature of communication results in significant levels of free-riding. In particular, with the introduction of communication, two dominant contribution norms of free-riding and perfect-cooperation emerge. This outcome emphasizes the importance of sanctioning opportunities in ensuring compliance with mitigation obligations.

Suggested Citation

  • Kerri Brick & Martine Visser & Zoe Hoven, 2016. "Cooperation and Climate Change: Can Communication Facilitate the Provision of Public Goods in Heterogeneous Settings?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 64(3), pages 421-443, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:64:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s10640-015-9879-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-015-9879-z
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    Cited by:

    1. Elmar A. Janssen, 2014. "The Influence of Transparency on Investments in Climate Protecting - An Economic Experiment," Working Papers Dissertations 06, Paderborn University, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Climate change; Communication; Contribution norm; Heterogeneity; Public good game;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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