Do parents invest into voluntary climate action when their children are watching? Evidence from a lab-in-the-field experiment
Helena Fornwagner () and
Oliver P. Hauser ()
Working Papers from Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck
Would parents do anything to enable a better future for their children - or only when they are seen to do so? Here we study voluntary climate action (VCA), which are costly to today's decision makers but essential to enable sustainable living for future generations. We hypothesise that parents will be most likely to invest in VCA when their own offspring observes their decision, whereas when adults or genetically unrelated children observe them, the effect will be smaller. In a large lab-in-the-field experiment, we observe a remarkable magnitude of VCA across conditions: parents invest 82% of their Euro 69 endowment into VCA, resulting in almost 14,000 real trees being planted. Parents' VCA varies across conditions, with larger treatment effects occurring when a parent's own child is the observer. In subgroup analyses, we find that larger treatment effects occur among higher educated parents. Our findings have implications for researchers and policy-makers interested in understanding voluntary climate action and designing programmes to encourage it.
Keywords: voluntary climate action; intergenerational cooperation; parents; children; observability; lab-in-the-field experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C99 Q51 Q54 H49 D19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 37 pages
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:inn:wpaper:2020-23
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