What Determines Climate Policy Preferences if Reducing Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Is a Global Public Good?

41 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2019 Last revised: 10 Feb 2020

See all articles by Michael M. Bechtel

Michael M. Bechtel

Washington University in St. Louis

Kenneth Scheve

Stanford University

Elisabeth van Lieshout

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: October 21, 2019

Abstract

Many international policy problems, including climate change, have been characterized as global public goods. We adopt this theoretical framework to identify the baseline determinants of individual opinion about climate policy. The model implies that support for climate action will be increasing in future benefits, their timing, and the probability that a given country's contribution will make a difference while decreasing in expected costs. Utilizing original surveys in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, we provide evidence that expected benefits, costs, and the probability of successful provision as measured by the contribution of other nations are critical for explaining support for climate action. Notably, we find no evidence that the temporality of benefits shapes support for climate action. These results indicate that climate change may be better understood as a static rather than a dynamic public goods problem and suggest strategies for designing policies that facilitate climate cooperation.

Keywords: climate policy, global public goods, international cooperation, public opinion, climate action, surveys, experiments, multi-country study, long-term policy, dynamic public goods

JEL Classification: G38, K32, Q54, Q58, H41

Suggested Citation

Bechtel, Michael M. and Scheve, Kenneth F. and van Lieshout, Elisabeth, What Determines Climate Policy Preferences if Reducing Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Is a Global Public Good? (October 21, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3472314 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3472314

Michael M. Bechtel (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis ( email )

Campus Box 1063
One Brookings Drive
Saint Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

Kenneth F. Scheve

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Elisabeth Van Lieshout

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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