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Does experience eliminate the effect of a default option? - A field experiment on CO2-offsetting for air transport. New title (when published): Are experienced people affected by a pre-set default option - Results from a field experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Löfgren, Åsa

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Martinsson, Peter

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Hennlock, Magnus

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Sterner, Thomas

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

Earlier research has shown that using a default option has a decisive effect on individuals’ choices. In many cases, however, the low proportion of subjects who switch from the pre-set default option might partly explained by inexperience with the goods or services offered, and high transaction costs for switching. By conducting a natural field experiment when environmental economists registered on the web to a conference, the default option to offset CO2 emissions was randomly pre-set. Either the participants had to opt-in to offset, opt-out to offset or there was no default option, i.e. an active choice had to be made with no implicit “guidance” from the default. We used experienced subjects and had low transaction costs of switching. Our findings show that the default has no significant effect on the decision to offset.

Suggested Citation

  • Löfgren, Åsa & Martinsson, Peter & Hennlock, Magnus & Sterner, Thomas, 2009. "Does experience eliminate the effect of a default option? - A field experiment on CO2-offsetting for air transport. New title (when published): Are experienced people affected by a pre-set default opt," Working Papers in Economics 391, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0391
    Note: Published in Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2012, Vol. 63, pp. 66-72
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    CO2-offsetting; Default option; Field experiment; Public goods;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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