Heidelberg environmental economists investigate the factors determining the willingness to pay
What is it that prompts citizens in Germany to do something about climate change on a voluntary basis? Of major significance here is a mixture of factual knowledge, subjective assumptions and hearsay.
This is the result of an online field study involving 2,000 German citizens and conducted by environmental economists at Heidelberg University. In a research project at the Alfred Weber Institute for Economics, they inquired into the factors determining the so-called “willingness to pay” in connection with individual climate action.
Project leader Prof. Timo Goeschl, Ph.D. tells us that in economics willingness to pay is an instrument widely used to express preferences and value judgements. “But the concept is not purely monetary and should not be viewed too restrictively. For economists willingness to pay refers to the investment of resources an individual could have made use of for other purposes. These can be money, time or work,” says Dr. Johannes Diederich, one of the researchers contributing to the project, which was funded by the German Research Foundation.
To investigate willingness to pay for individual climate action, the Heidelberg researchers carried out an experiment in behavioural economics. Over 2,000 respondents were involved from all over Germany and from all strata of society.
The participants could choose between a sum of money and a real cutdown on carbon dioxide emissions. The emission reductions were realised by the researchers via the emissions trading system of the European Union. At the same time they inquired into the state of their respondents’ knowledge on the subject and their expectations, for example on the effects of emission reductions or their personal share in carbon dioxide emissions.
“Willingness to pay for environmental goods like climate protection is definitely not carved in stone,” says Prof. Goeschel. “It is strongly influenced by how much an individual knows about the subject.
But this knowledge is not merely the product of real facts, it is also made up of subjective assumptions and apparent knowledge.” Knowing more or even merely believing that one knows more, for example about one’s own contribution to climate change, will have a positive effect on the willingness to pay.
Another crucial factor determining willingness to pay for individual climate action is education. “Better educated people are more likely to reject the money in favour of an emission reduction,” says Prof. Goeschl. “This is independent of their incomes and also of the knowledge they have about climate change and the phenomena associated with it.”
The researchers came across an unexpected effect when they linked the decisions of their respondents with regional weather data. People living in places with higher outside temperatures were more likely to plump for emission reductions than for the money offered them. “We shall be looking into this effect in our further studies,” says Prof. Goeschl.
J. Diederich, T. Goeschl: Willingness to Pay for Voluntary Climate Action and Its Determinants: Field-Experimental Evidence. Environmental and Resource Economics (March 2014), 57:405-429, doi: 10.1007/s10640-013-9686-3
Prof. Timo Goeschl, Ph.D.
Alfred Weber Institute for Economics
Phone: +49 6221 54-8010
Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone: +49 6221 54-2311
Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Sea turtles face plastic pollution peril
09.10.2015 | University of Exeter
NOAA declares third ever global coral bleaching event
08.10.2015 | NOAA Headquarters
Nondestructive material testing (NDT) is a fast and effective way to analyze the quality of a product during the manufacturing process. Because defective materials can lead to malfunctioning finished products, NDT is an essential quality assurance measure, especially in the manufacture of safety-critical components such as automotive B-pillars. NDT examines the quality without damaging the component or modifying the surface of the material. At this year's Blechexpo trade fair in Stuttgart, Fraunhofer IZFP will have an exhibit that demonstrates the nondestructive testing of high-strength automotive body parts using 3MA. The measurement results are available in a matter of seconds.
To minimize vehicle weight and fuel consumption while providing the highest level of crash safety, automotive bodies are reinforced with elements made from...
The MICADO camera, a first light instrument for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), has entered a new phase in the project: by agreeing to a Memorandum of Understanding, the partners in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Italy, have all confirmed their participation. Following this milestone, the project's transition into its preliminary design phase was approved at a kick-off meeting held in Vienna. Two weeks earlier, on September 18, the consortium and the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which is building the telescope, have signed the corresponding collaboration agreement.
As the first dedicated camera for the E-ELT, MICADO will equip the giant telescope with a capability for diffraction-limited imaging at near-infrared...
Self-driving cars will be on our streets in the foreseeable future. In Graz, research is currently dedicated to an innovative driver assistance system that takes over control if there is a danger of collision. It was nature that inspired Dr Manfred Hartbauer from the Institute of Zoology at the University of Graz: in dangerous traffic situations, migratory locusts react around ten times faster than humans. Working together with an interdisciplinary team, Hartbauer is investigating an affordable collision detector that is equipped with artificial locust eyes and can recognise potential crashes in time, during both day and night.
Inspired by insects
An interdisciplinary team of researchers has built the first prototype of a miniature particle accelerator that uses terahertz radiation instead of radio...
At present, tiny magnetic whirls – so called skyrmions – are discussed as promising candidates for bits in future robust and compact data storage devices. At...
01.10.2015 | Event News
30.09.2015 | Event News
17.09.2015 | Event News
09.10.2015 | Earth Sciences
09.10.2015 | Life Sciences
09.10.2015 | Life Sciences