, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 613-626
Date: 18 Nov 2012

Can Defaults Save the Climate? Evidence from a Field Experiment on Carbon Offsetting Programs

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Abstract

Individual preferences for environmental policies can be influenced by the frame in which choices and decisions are presented. In this paper we present results of a field experiment on the contributions to carbon offsetting programs under two alternative treatments for the default option. The opt-in treatment asked subjects to pay for the policy proposal while the opt-out treatment asked subjects if they wanted to be excluded from payment for the policy proposal. The results show that the frame of the default option had a significant effect on the amount of money paid for the policy proposal. Subjects were more likely to accept the policy proposal if the default option was the opt-out treatment. The results have implications for the design of environmental policies.