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Impact of Risk and Uncertainty in the Provision of Local and Global Environmental Goods : An Experimental Analysis

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  • Lata Gangadharan
  • Veronika Nemes

Abstract

Uncertainties and risks in the decision making process are abundant in the area of environmental economics, irrespective of whether the problems being discussed are local or global. This paper uses laboratory evidence from public goods games to examine how in payoff equivalent situations, decision makers contribute towards local or global environmental goods, in the presence of risk and uncertainties in the provision of these goods. We use a within subject design that allows for comparisons across seven different treatments in which subjects are exposed to internal (strategic) and external (environmental) risk and uncertainty. Our results show that the location of the risk and uncertainty matters, with subjects moving away from the external uncertainty in favor of internal uncertainty, when that uncertainty is associated with the local environmental good. When the uncertainty relates to the global environmental good, subjects face both external and internal uncertainty on the same good leading to a significant drop in contributions. We find that in the presence of risk and uncertainty subjects use feedback from other members of their group when deciding about future contributions. The reward for research and development and innovation is captured in the experimental design by the increased probability of obtaining the desired outcome in the endogenous probability treatment. Subjects seem to understand this incentive and contribute more towards global goods in this treatment.

Suggested Citation

  • Lata Gangadharan & Veronika Nemes, 2005. "Impact of Risk and Uncertainty in the Provision of Local and Global Environmental Goods : An Experimental Analysis," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 956, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:956
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    File URL: http://www.economics.unimelb.edu.au/downloads/wpapers-05/956.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Groves, Theodore & Ledyard, John O, 1977. "Optimal Allocation of Public Goods: A Solution to the "Free Rider" Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(4), pages 783-809, May.
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    3. R. Mark Isaac & James M. Walker, 1988. "Group Size Effects in Public Goods Provision: The Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 179-199.
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    7. Dickinson, David L., 1998. "The voluntary contributions mechanism with uncertain group payoffs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 517-533, May.
    8. Groves, Theodore & Ledyard, John O, 1980. "The Existence of Efficient and Incentive Compatible Equilibria with Public Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1487-1506, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Veronika Nemes & Lata Gangadharan, 2011. "The Implications of Risk and Uncertainty Aversion in Public Goods Games," Environmental Economics Research Hub Research Reports 10107, Environmental Economics Research Hub, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    2. Bernold, Elizabeth & Ancev, Tiho & Baltaduonis, Rimvyda, 2015. "Regulating greenhouse gas emissions by an intertemporal policy mix: An experimental investigation," Working Papers 2015-17, University of Sydney, School of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Experiments; Public Goods; Local and Global Environmental Problems; Risk; Uncertainty.;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • Q00 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - General
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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