Effects of Fairness Principles on Willingness to Pay for Climate Change Mitigation

Posted: 28 Nov 2017 Last revised: 14 Jan 2018

See all articles by Brilé Anderson

Brilé Anderson

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich

Stefano Balietti

Northeastern University - Network Science Institute; Harvard University - Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences; Northeastern University - Management Information Systems Area

Date Written: April 14, 2017

Abstract

Despite the shift from multilateral negotiations on legally binding mitigation commitments to the decentralized nonbinding Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) approach in global climate policy, governments and other stakeholders continue to insist that fairness principles guide the overall effort. Key recurring principles in this debate are capacity and historical responsibility. To keep global warming within the internationally agreed 2 °C limit, many countries will have to engage in more ambitious climate policies relative to current INDCs. Public support will be crucial in this respect. We thus explore the implications of different fairness principles for citizens’ preferences concerning burden sharing in climate policy. To this end, we implemented an online experiment in which participants (N = 414) played an ultimatum game. Participants were tasked with sharing the costs of climate change mitigation. The aim was to examine how participants’ willingness to pay for mitigation was influenced by capacity and historical responsibility considerations. The results show that fairness principles do have a strong effect and that participants applied fairness principles differently depending on their position at the outset. It turns out that participants paid more attention to other players’ capacity and historical responsibility when proposing a particular cost allocation and more attention to their own capacity and responsibility when responding to proposals by others. These and other findings suggest that framing climate policy in terms of internationally coordinated unilateral measures is likely to garner more public support than framing climate policy in terms of a global bargaining effort over the mitigation burden.

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Brilé and Bernauer, Thomas and Balietti, Stefano, Effects of Fairness Principles on Willingness to Pay for Climate Change Mitigation (April 14, 2017). Climatic Change. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-017-1959-3; Northeastern U. D’Amore-McKim School of Business Research Paper No. 3073096. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3073096

Brilé Anderson (Contact Author)

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) ( email )

2 rue Andre Pascal
Paris Cedex 16, 75775
France

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich ( email )

Center for Comparative and International Studies
Building IFW, office 45.1, Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich 8092, 8092
Switzerland
+41 44 632 6466 (Phone)
+41 44 632 1289 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ib.ethz.ch

Stefano Balietti

Northeastern University - Network Science Institute ( email )

177 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02115
United States

Harvard University - Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences ( email )

1737 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02115
United States

Northeastern University - Management Information Systems Area ( email )

Boston, MA 02115
United States

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