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

47 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2019

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

A wide variety of international policy problems, including climate change, have been characterized as global public goods. This paper adopts this theoretical framework to identify the baseline determinants of public opinion about reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. We show formally that this 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 be decisive while decreasing in expected costs. Utilizing novel data from original surveys in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, we provide experimental and observational evidence that expected benefits, costs, and the probability of successful provision are critical for explaining variation in support for climate action. Surprisingly, we find no evidence that the temporality of policy benefits shapes support for climate action. These results suggest effective strategies for building public support for climate action and designing institutions that facilitate global public goods provision.

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

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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