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Differentiated Responsibilities and Prosocial Behavior in Climate Change Mitigation: Behavioral Evidence from the United States and China

Kline, Reuben; Seltzer, Nicholas; Lukinova, Evgeniya; Bynum, Autumn

Authors

Reuben Kline

Nicholas Seltzer

Autumn Bynum



Abstract

The recent Paris agreement has increased optimism that climate change might be successfully mitigated through international agreement. However, the commitments of countries are unenforceable. Therefore domestic political will, including on the part of citizens to make regular sacrifices, will be required in order for countries to meet these commitments. Understanding prosocial behavior in climate change mitigation is thus more important than ever. Many behavioral studies model the mitigation dilemma using public goods games: But, because wealth creation in a carbon-based economy inevitably leads to the appropriation of the global climate commons, climate change and its mitigation actually constitute a dual, interdependent social dilemma. Acknowledging the interdependence of this dilemma is necessary to capture "common but differentiated responsibilities," the equity principle that underlies international climate negotiations. To do so, we introduce the compound climate dilemma: a new be-havioral game that expands the public goods approach to the mitigation dilemma by combining it with a preceding common pool dilemma. To explore the implications of the compound climate dilemma for prosocial behavior, we conduct experiments in the United States and China, the world's two largest emitters of carbon. Though the pattern of prosocial behavior is virtually identical across the two countries, the introduction of differentiated responsibilities nonetheless has a deleterious effect on successful mitigation.

Citation

Kline, R., Seltzer, N., Lukinova, E., & Bynum, A. Differentiated Responsibilities and Prosocial Behavior in Climate Change Mitigation: Behavioral Evidence from the United States and China

Deposit Date Oct 31, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 1, 2022
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/13168795
Publisher URL https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2822093

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