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Smiley or Frowney: The effect of emotions and framing in a downstream water pollution game

Hans J. Czap, Natalia V. Czap, Marianna Khachaturyan, Mark E. Burbach and Gary D. Lynne

No 102696, 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Abstract: Common-pool resources and other shared resources frequently suffer from overextraction/overuse and associated negative externalities. In this paper we design a framed laboratory experiment on downstream water pollution to investigate (a) the importance of framing in determining the behavior of upstreamers regarding the negative externalities, and (b) the potential of downstreamers to influence the choices of upstreamers using non-monetary sanctions and rewards, alleviating the need for intervention by the local governments and regulatory institutions. Our results show that framing has a significant impact on the behavior of subjects. Subjects behaved more profit-oriented in the self-interest framing and more egalitarian in the empathy framing. In addition, we show that nudging subjects to “walk in the shoes of others” significantly increased empathetic behavior. Lastly, negative emotional feedback is a powerful tool for changing behavior of subjects towards more environmentally friendly and empathetic behavior. Interestingly, positive emotional feedback is counterproductive in that it instead decreases environmentally friendly and empathetic behavior. In general our results indicate that explicit emotional feedback, even though not expressed by everyone, works similarly to the implicit appeal to emotions through framing.

Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy; Institutional and Behavioral Economics; Land Economics/Use (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 21
Date: 2011
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-env, nep-evo, nep-exp and nep-hme
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ags:aaea11:102696

DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.102696

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