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Smiley or Frowney: The effect of emotions and framing in a downstream water pollution game

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  • Czap, Hans J.
  • Czap, Natalia V.
  • Khachaturyan, Marianna
  • Burbach, Mark E.
  • Lynne, Gary D.

Abstract

Common-pool resources and other shared resources frequently suffer from overextraction/overuse and associated negative externalities. In this paper we design a framed laboratory experiment on downstream water pollution to investigate (a) the importance of framing in determining the behavior of upstreamers regarding the negative externalities, and (b) the potential of downstreamers to influence the choices of upstreamers using non-monetary sanctions and rewards, alleviating the need for intervention by the local governments and regulatory institutions. Our results show that framing has a significant impact on the behavior of subjects. Subjects behaved more profit-oriented in the self-interest framing and more egalitarian in the empathy framing. In addition, we show that nudging subjects to “walk in the shoes of others” significantly increased empathetic behavior. Lastly, negative emotional feedback is a powerful tool for changing behavior of subjects towards more environmentally friendly and empathetic behavior. Interestingly, positive emotional feedback is counterproductive in that it instead decreases environmentally friendly and empathetic behavior. In general our results indicate that explicit emotional feedback, even though not expressed by everyone, works similarly to the implicit appeal to emotions through framing.

Suggested Citation

  • Czap, Hans J. & Czap, Natalia V. & Khachaturyan, Marianna & Burbach, Mark E. & Lynne, Gary D., 2011. "Smiley or Frowney: The effect of emotions and framing in a downstream water pollution game," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 102696, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea11:102696
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/102696
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John A. List & Michael K. Price, 2013. "Using Field Experiments in Environmental and Resource Economics," NBER Working Papers 19289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. López-Pérez, Raúl & Vorsatz, Marc, 2010. "On approval and disapproval: Theory and experiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 527-541, August.
    3. Ben-Shakhar, Gershon & Bornstein, Gary & Hopfensitz, Astrid & van Winden, Frans, 2007. "Reciprocity and emotions in bargaining using physiological and self-report measures," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 314-323, June.
    4. Daan van Soest & Jana Vyrastekova, 2006. "Peer Enforcement in CPR Experiments: The Relative Effectiveness of Sanctions and Transfer Rewards, and the Role of Behavioral Types," Chapters,in: Using Experimental Methods in Environmental and Resource Economics, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Adam Zylbersztejn, 2013. "Strategic signaling or emotional sanctioning? An experimental study of ex post communication in a repeated public goods game," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 13011, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    2. Czap, Natalia V. & Czap, Hans J. & Khachaturyan, Marianna & Lynne, Gary D. & Burbach, Mark, 2012. "Walking in the shoes of others: Experimental testing of dual-interest and empathy in environmental choice," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 642-653.
    3. Adam Zylbersztejn, 2014. "The predominant role of signal precision in experimental beauty contests," Working Papers 1443, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    empathy framing; self-interest framing; emotions; water pollution; environmental experiment; reward and punishment.; Environmental Economics and Policy; Institutional and Behavioral Economics; Land Economics/Use; C9; D03; Q25; Q53; Q57;

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics

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