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Inequality, Communication and the Avoidance of Disastrous Climate Change

Author

Listed:
  • Alessandro Tavoni

    (Grantham Research Institute, London School of Economics)

  • Astrid Dannenberg

    (Centre for European Economic Research, Mannheim, Germany)

  • Giorgos Kallis

    (ICTA, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona)

  • Andreas Loeschel

    (Centre for European Economic Research, Mannheim, Germany)

Abstract

International efforts to provide global public goods often face the challenges of coordinating national contributions and distributing costs equitably in the face of uncertainty, inequality, and free-riding incentives. In an experimental setting, we distribute endowments unequally among a group of people who can reach a fixed target sum through successive money contributions, knowing that if they fail they will lose all their remaining money with 50% probability. We find that inequality reduces the prospects of reaching the target, but that communication increases success dramatically. Successful groups tend to eliminate inequality over the course of the game, with rich players signalling willingness to redistribute early on. Our results suggest that coordinative institutions and early redistribution from richer to poorer nations may widen our window of opportunity to avoid global climate calamity.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Tavoni & Astrid Dannenberg & Giorgos Kallis & Andreas Loeschel, 2011. "Inequality, Communication and the Avoidance of Disastrous Climate Change," CCEP Working Papers 1103, Centre for Climate & Energy Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:ccepwp:1103
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    File URL: http://ccep.anu.edu.au/data/2011/pdf/wpapers/CCEP1103Tavoni.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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