The Supply of Environmentalism

38 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2013 Last revised: 30 Aug 2013

See all articles by Edward L. Glaeser

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: August 2013

Abstract

Long before economics turned to psychology, environmentalists were nudging and framing and pushing their cause like highly gifted amateur psychologists. Their interventions seem to have changed behavior by altering beliefs, norms and preferences, but because psychological interventions are often coarse, inadvertent, offsetting side effects occur. After discussing the interplay between environmental preference-making and economics, I turn to three areas where strong, simple views have spread--electric cars, recycling and local conservation efforts. In all three areas, environmental rules of thumb can lead to significant, adverse environmental side effects. Local environmentalism, for example, may increase carbon emissions by pushing development from low emission areas, like coastal California, to high emissions areas elsewhere. I end by discussing how economic analysis of the political market for ideas can make sense of the remarkable disparity of views on global warming.

Suggested Citation

Glaeser, Edward L., The Supply of Environmentalism (August 2013). NBER Working Paper No. w19359. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2315443

Edward L. Glaeser (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Room 315A
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2150 (Phone)
617-496-1722 (Fax)

Brookings Institution

1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036-2188
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
50
Abstract Views
233
PlumX Metrics