Can Defaults Save The Climate? Evidence From A Field Experiment On Carbon Offsetting Programs

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Environmental and Resource Economics, 2013, 54 (4), pp. 613 - 626
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Individual preferences for environmental policies can be influenced by the frame in which choices and decisions are presented. In this paper we present results of a field experiment on the contributions to carbon offsetting programs under two alternative treatments for the default option. The opt-in treatment asked subjects to pay for the policy proposal while the opt-out treatment asked subjects if they wanted to be excluded from payment for the policy proposal. The results show that the frame of the default option had a significant effect on the amount of money paid for the policy proposal. Subjects were more likely to accept the policy proposal if the default option was the opt-out treatment. The results have implications for the design of environmental policies.
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