Aiding Decision Making to Reduce the Impacts of Climate Change

Howard Kunreuther, Elke U. Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Utilizing theory and empirical insights from psychology and behavioural economics, this paper examines individuals’ cognitive and motivational barriers to adopting climate change adaptation and mitigation measures that increase consumer welfare. We explore various strategies that take into account the simplified decision-making processes used by individuals and resulting biases. We make these points by working through two examples: (1) investments in energy efficiency products and new technology and (2) adaptation measures to reduce property damage from future floods and hurricanes. In both cases there is a reluctance to undertake these measures due to high and certain upfront costs, delayed and probabilistic benefits, and behavioural biases related to this asymmetry. The use of choice architecture through framing and the use of default options coupled with short-term incentives and long-term contracts can encourage greater investment in these measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-411
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Consumer Policy
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics

Keywords

  • Behavioural economics
  • Choice architecture
  • Climate change
  • Decision processes
  • Energy efficiency
  • Mitigation and adaptation measures

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