Behavioral Economics and Climate Change Policy
The policy recommendations of most economists are based on the rational actor model of human behavior. Behavior is assumed to be self-regarding, preferences are assumed to be stable, and decisions are assumed to be unaffected by social context or frame of reference. The related fields of behavioral economics, game theory, and neuroscience have confirmed that human behavior is other regarding, and that people exhibit systematic patterns of decision-making that are "irrational" according to the standard behavioral model. This paper takes the position that it is these "irrational" patterns of behavior that uniquely define human decision making and that effective economic policies must take these behaviors as the starting point. This argument is supported by game theory experiments involving humans, closely related primates, and other animals with more limited cognitive ability. The policy focus of the paper is global climate change. The research surveyed in this paper suggests that the standard economic approach to climate change policy, with its almost exclusive emphasis on rational responses to monetary incentives, is seriously flawed. In fact, monetary incentives may actually be counter-productive. Humans are unique among animal species in their ability to cooperate across cultures, geographical space and generations. Tapping into this uniquely human attribute, and understanding how cooperation is enforced, holds the key to limiting the potentially calamitous effects of global climate change.
|Date of creation:||Jan 2007|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.economics.rpi.edu/|
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ariel Rubinstein, 2003. ""Economics and Psychology"? The Case of Hyperbolic Discounting," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1207-1216, November.
- Chichilnisky, Graciela & Beltratti, Andrea & Heal, Geoffrey, 1998. "Sustainable use of renewable resources, Chapter 2.1," MPRA Paper 8815, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Whyte, Glen, 1993. "Escalating Commitment in Individual and Group Decision Making: A Prospect Theory Approach," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 430-455, April.
- Karp, Larry, 2005.
"Global warming and hyperbolic discounting,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 261-282, February.
- Karp, Larry, 2004. "Global Warming and Hyperbolic Discounting," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt5zh730nc, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
- Karp, Larry S, 2004. "Global warming and hyperbolic discounting," CUDARE Working Paper Series 0934R, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
- Stiglitz Joseph, 2006. "A New Agenda for Global Warming," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 3(7), pages 1-4, July.
- Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1997.
"A Case for Happiness, Cardinalism, and Interpersonal Comparability,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1848-58, November.
- Martin L. Weitzman, 1998.
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1843, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979.
"Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,"
Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
- Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
- Kahn, James Randall & Franceschi, Dina, 2006. "Beyond Kyoto: A tax-based system for the global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 778-787, July.
- On Amir & Dan Ariely & Alan Cooke & David Dunning & Nicholas Epley & Uri Gneezy & Botond Koszegi & Donald Lichtenstein & Nina Mazar & Sendhil Mullainathan & Drazen Prelec & Eldar Shafir & Jose Silva, 2005. "Psychology, Behavioral Economics, and Public Policy," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 443-454, December.
- van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M., 2004. "Optimal climate policy is a utopia: from quantitative to qualitative cost-benefit analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 385-393, April.
- Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
- Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1987. "Diamonds Are a Government's Best Friend: Burden-Free Taxes on Goods Valued for Their Values," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 186-91, March.
- Laibson, David I., 1997.
"Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting,"
4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Daniel Kahneman & Robert Sugden, 2005. "Experienced Utility as a Standard of Policy Evaluation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 161-181, 09.
- J�rg Rieskamp & Jerome R. Busemeyer & Barbara A. Mellers, 2006. "Extending the Bounds of Rationality: Evidence and Theories of Preferential Choice," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(3), pages 631-661, September.
- Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2006. "Behavioral Economics Comes of Age: A Review Essay on Advances in Behavioral Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(3), pages 712-721, September.
- Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
- Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1997. "The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 746-55, September.
- John M. Gowdy, 2003.
"The Revolution in Welfare Economics and its Implications for Environmental Valuation and Policy,"
Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics
0315, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
- John M. Gowdy, 2004. "The Revolution in Welfare Economics and Its Implications for Environmental Valuation and Policy," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 80(2), pages 239-257.
- Gintis, Herbert, 2000. "Beyond Homo economicus: evidence from experimental economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 311-322, December.
- Glimcher, Paul W. & Dorris, Michael C. & Bayer, Hannah M., 2005. "Physiological utility theory and the neuroeconomics of choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 213-256, August.
- Hall, Darwin C. & Behl, Richard J., 2006. "Integrating economic analysis and the science of climate instability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 442-465, May.
- Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "A Psychological Perspective on Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 162-168, May.
- John O'Neill & Clive L. Spash, 2000. "Conceptions of Value in Environmental Decision-Making," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 9(4), pages 521-536, November.
- Gowdy, John & Iorgulescu, Raluca & Onyeiwu, Stephen, 2003. "Fairness and retaliation in a rural Nigerian village," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 469-479, December.
- William D. Nordhaus, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 686-702, September.
- Gowdy, John M., 2004. "Altruism, evolution, and welfare economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 69-73, January.
- Paavola, Jouni & Adger, W. Neil, 2006. "Fair adaptation to climate change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 594-609, April.
- Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
- Howarth, Richard B., 2006. "Optimal environmental taxes under relative consumption effects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 209-219, June.
- Norgaard, Richard B., 1989. "The case for methodological pluralism," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 37-57, February.
- repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:2:p:443-77 is not listed on IDEAS
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rpi:rpiwpe:0701. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shawn Kantor)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.