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On the Sensitivity of Collective Action to Uncertainty about Climate Tipping Points

Author

Listed:
  • Scott Barrett
  • Astrid Dannenberg

Abstract

Previous research shows that collective action to avoid a catastrophic threshold, such as a climate “tipping point,” is unaffected by uncertainty about the impact of crossing the threshold but that collective action collapses if the location of the threshold is uncertain. Theory suggests that behavior should differ dramatically either side of a dividing line for threshold uncertainty. Inside the dividing line, where uncertainty is small, collective action should succeed. Outside the dividing line, where uncertainty is large, collective action should fail. We test this prediction in the experimental lab. Our results strongly support the prediction: behavior is highly sensitive to uncertainty around the dividing line.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Barrett & Astrid Dannenberg, 2014. "On the Sensitivity of Collective Action to Uncertainty about Climate Tipping Points," CESifo Working Paper Series 4643, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4643
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp4643.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ananish Chaudhuri, 2011. "Sustaining cooperation in laboratory public goods experiments: a selective survey of the literature," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 47-83, March.
    2. Alessandro Tavoni & Astrid Dannenberg & Giorgos Kallis & Andreas L�schel, 2011. "Inequality, communication and the avoidance of disastrous climate change," GRI Working Papers 34, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    3. Daniel Balliet, 2010. "Communication and Cooperation in Social Dilemmas: A Meta-Analytic Review," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 54(1), pages 39-57, February.
    4. Rachel Croson & Melanie Marks, 2000. "Step Returns in Threshold Public Goods: A Meta- and Experimental Analysis," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(3), pages 239-259, March.
    5. Michael McBride, 2010. "Threshold uncertainty in discrete public good games: an experimental study," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 77-99, February.
    6. Budescu David V. & Rapoport Amnon & Suleiman Ramzi, 1995. "Common Pool Resource Dilemmas under Uncertainty: Qualitative Tests of Equilibrium Solutions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 171-201, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. R. Ghidoni & G. Calzolari & M. Casari, 2017. "Climate Change: Behavioral Responses from Extreme Events and Delayed Damages," Working Papers wp2002, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    2. Charles Sims & David Finnoff, 2016. "Opposing Irreversibilities and Tipping Point Uncertainty," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 985-1022.
    3. Federica Alberti & Edward J. Cartwright, 2016. "Full agreement and the provision of threshold public goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 205-233, January.
    4. Feige, Christian & Ehrhart, Karl-Martin & Krämer, Jan, 2014. "Voting on contributions to a threshold public goods game: An experimental investigation," Working Paper Series in Economics 60, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
    5. Doncaster, C. Patrick & Tavoni, Alessandro & Dyke, James G., 2017. "Using Adaptation Insurance to Incentivize Climate-change Mitigation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 246-258.
    6. repec:spr:revint:v:13:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11558-017-9282-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Ghidoni, Riccardo & Calzolari, Giacomo & Casari, Marco, 2017. "Climate change : Behavioral responses from extreme events and delayed damages," Other publications TiSEM 9868b8c2-8848-48d9-9eb6-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    8. 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.
    9. Lemoine, Derek & Traeger, Christian P., 2016. "Ambiguous tipping points," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PB), pages 5-18.
    10. Mike Farjam & Olexandr Nikolaychuk & Giangiacomo Bravo, 2017. "Does risk communication really decrease cooperation in climate change mitigation?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2017-014, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    11. Alfredo Sirkis & J.C Hourcade & Dipak Dasgupta & Rogério Studart & Kevin Gallagher & B Perrissin-Fabert & José Eli Da Veiga & Etienne Espagne & Michele Stua & Michel Aglietta, 2015. "Moving the trillions a debate on positive pricing of mitigation actions," Post-Print hal-01692638, HAL.
    12. repec:eee:eneeco:v:68:y:2017:i:s1:p:103-115 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    collective action; prisoners’ dilemma; coordination game; threshold uncertainty; negotiations; tipping points; climate change; experimental economics;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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