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Misperceived social norms and willingness to act against climate change

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  • Andre, Peter
  • Boneva, Teodora
  • Chopra, Felix
  • Falk, Armin

Abstract

We document the individual willingness to act against climate change and study the role of social norms in a large sample of US adults. Individual beliefs about social norms positively predict pro-climate donations, comparable in strength to universal moral values and economic preferences such as patience and reciprocity. However, we document systematic misperceptions of social norms. Respondents vastly underestimate the prevalence of climate-friendly behaviors and norms. Correcting these misperceptions in an experiment causally raises individual willingness to act against climate change as well as individual support for climate policies. The effects are strongest for individuals who are skeptical about the existence and threat of global warming.

Suggested Citation

  • Andre, Peter & Boneva, Teodora & Chopra, Felix & Falk, Armin, 2024. "Misperceived social norms and willingness to act against climate change," SAFE Working Paper Series 414, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:safewp:284397
    DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.4740469
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    Cited by:

    1. Dobkowitz, Sonja, 2022. "Redistribution, Demand, and Sustainable Production," VfS Annual Conference 2021 (Virtual Conference): Climate Economics 242417, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association, revised 2022.
    2. Helena Fornwagner & Oliver P. Hauser, 2022. "Climate Action for (My) Children," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 81(1), pages 95-130, January.
    3. Monika Pompeo & Nina Serdarevic, 2021. "Is information enough? The case of Republicans and climate change," Discussion Papers 2021-08, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    4. Adams-Prassl, Abi & Boneva, Teodora & Golin, Marta & Rauh, Christopher, 2023. "The value of sick pay," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
    5. Peter Andre & Teodora Boneva & Felix Chopra & Armin Falk, 2021. "Bereit zum Klimaschutz? Soziale Normen sind entscheidend," ECONtribute Policy Brief Series 022, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    6. Lata Gangadharan & Philip J. Grossman & Nina Xue, 2021. "Identifying self-image concerns from motivated beliefs: Does it matter how and whom you ask?," Monash Economics Working Papers 2021-17, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    7. Feldhaus, Christoph & Gleue, Marvin & Löschel, Andreas & Werner, Peter, 2022. "Co-benefits motivate individual donations to mitigate climate change," Research Memorandum 004, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Climate change; climate behavior; climate policies; social norms; misperception; beliefs; economic preferences; moral values; survey experiments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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