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The power of active choice: Field experimental evidence on repeated contribution decisions to a carbon offsetting program

Martin Kesternich (), Daniel Römer and Florens Flues

No 16-091, ZEW Discussion Papers from ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research

Abstract: We study the effect of a subtle change in the choice architecture on offsetting behavior. In a large-scale field experiment, we examine repeated voluntary contributions to a carbon offsetting program during the online purchase of long-distance bus tickets. In the control group, travelers had the option to offset their carbon emissions resulting from their bus trip, but they could also simply ignore the offer. In the treatment group, travelers were forced to actively choose whether to offset their carbon emissions or not. This "active choice" requirement immediately increased participation in the offsetting program by almost 50%. Investigating returning customers, we find that this treatment remains effective over time. We report evidence that some customers tend to keep avoiding active contribution decisions in subsequent booking decisions.

Keywords: voluntary carbon offsets; randomized field experiment; default setting; choice architecture (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H41 C93 D03 L92 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-ene, nep-env and nep-exp
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Journal Article: The power of active choice: Field experimental evidence on repeated contribution decisions to a carbon offsetting program (2019) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:zbw:zewdip:16091

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