Too different to solve climate change? Experimental evidence on the effects of production and benefit heterogeneity on collective action

We find that heterogeneous assemblies are less able to collectively provide a public good such as greenhouse gas mitigation

Ursula Kreitmair; Jacob Bower-Bir

2021

Scholarcy highlights

  • Though a global phenomenon, climate change will impact different countries to varying degrees
  • Different countries and industries vary in how cost effectively they can mitigate climate change. These heterogeneities—one in marginal benefits derived from greenhouse mitigation, the other in marginal productivity in organizing collective action toward greenhouse mitigation—have not been sufficiently studied, nor have they been directly compared
  • We find that heterogeneous assemblies are less able to collectively provide a public good such as greenhouse gas mitigation
  • Results suggest that emphasizing reciprocity may improve collective action toward mitigation, but this depends on whose behavior is reciprocated
  • Whereas previous studies manually sorted individuals into contribution groups, which is impractical in larger data sets and yields difficult-to-replicate classifications, this paper uses machine learning to classify players according to their conditional contribution behavior

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