An Experimental Examination of Measurement Disparities in Public Climate Change Beliefs

22 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2018 Last revised: 15 Nov 2018

See all articles by Matt Motta

Matt Motta

Annenberg Public Policy Center; Yale Law School

Daniel Chapman

Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School; Annenberg Public Policy Center

Dominik Stecula

Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania; Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Department of Political Science

Kathryn Haglin

University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg Public Policy Center; Yale Law School

Dan M. Kahan

Yale University - Law School

Date Written: November 6, 2018

Abstract

The extent to which Americans -- especially Republicans -- believe in anthropogenic climate change has recently been the subject of high profile academic and popular disagreement. We offer a novel framework, and experimental data, for making sense of this debate. Using a large (N = 7,019) and demographically diverse sample of US adults, we compared several widely-used methods for measuring belief in anthropogenic climate change. We find that seemingly-trivial decisions made when constructing questions can, in some cases, significantly alter the proportion of the American public who appear to believe in human-caused climate change. Critically, we find that some common measurement practices may nearly double estimates of Republicans' acceptance of human-caused climate change. We conclude by discussing the implications of this work for the consumption, production, and communication of research on climate opinion.

Keywords: climate change, public opinion, survey artifact, survey measurement

Suggested Citation

Motta, Matt and Chapman, Daniel and Stecula, Dominik and Haglin, Kathryn and Kahan, Dan M., An Experimental Examination of Measurement Disparities in Public Climate Change Beliefs (November 6, 2018). Yale Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 655. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3279340 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3279340

Matt Motta (Contact Author)

Annenberg Public Policy Center ( email )

Yale Law School ( email )

Daniel Chapman

Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School ( email )

127 Wall St
New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Annenberg Public Policy Center ( email )

Dominik Stecula

Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
2157462425 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stecula.com

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Department of Political Science

Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Kathryn Haglin

University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg Public Policy Center ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Yale Law School ( email )

Dan M. Kahan

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.culturalcognition.net/kahan

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
90
rank
266,942
Abstract Views
547
PlumX