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Clean up your own mess: An experimental study of moral responsibility and efficiency

Michael Jakob (), Dorothea Kübler (), Jan Christoph Steckel and Roel van Velduizen

No SP II 2016-215, Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior from Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB)

Abstract: Although market-based environmental policy instruments feature prominently in economic theory and are widely employed, they often meet with public resistance. We argue that such resistance may be driven by a feeling of moral responsibility where citizens prefer to tackle environmental problems themselves, rather than delegating the task to others by means of a market mechanism. Using a laboratory experiment that isolates moral responsibility from alternative explanations, we show that moral responsibility induces participants to incur a sizable cost on themselves as well as on other participants. We discuss the implications of this finding for the design and implementation of environmental policies.

Keywords: Laboratory Experiment; Moral Responsibility; Environmental Policy; Market Mechanism; Climate Change (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C90 H23 Q53 Q54 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-cbe, nep-ene, nep-env and nep-exp
Date: 2016
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