A contingent valuation study comparing citizen’s willingness-to-pay for climate change Mitigation in China and the United States

Research Article


Being the world’s two largest greenhouse gas polluters and economies, both the United States and China must be involved to achieve meaningful global action to address climate change. To better understand public support for climate change mitigation policy in these countries, this study employs a double-bounded dichotomous choice contingent valuation survey to estimate American and Chinese citizens’ willingness-to-pay (WTP) for climate change action. The results show that on average, US college students and adults have similar WTP values. Chinese adults’ WTP is about three-fifths of US adults’ WTP measured in US dollars, while Chinese students’ WTP is only three-fourths of US students’ WTP. Adjusting for the significant difference in per capita income, Chinese adult and student WTP is over two times larger than that of their US counterparts. In addition, political ideology for US respondents is found to have a significant influence on WTP even when controlling for other covariates, such as environmental concern and climate change belief.


Contingent valuation Climate change Global warming Willingness-to-pay 

JEL classification

F5 H23 Q48 Q54 



Funding was provided by the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.


  1. Aldy J, Stavins R (2012) The promise and problems of pricing carbon: theory and experience. J Environ Dev 1070496512442508Google Scholar
  2. Arrow K, Solow R, Learner R, Portney P, Radner R, Schuman H (1993) Report of the NOAA panel on contingent valuation. Fed Reg 58:4601–46124Google Scholar
  3. Boardman A, Greenberg V, Vining A, Weimer D (2010) Cost-benefit analysis: concepts and practice. Pearson Prentice Hall, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  4. Borick CP, Lachapelle E, Rabe BG (2011) Climate compared: public opinion on climate change in the United States and Canada. Issues Gov Stud 39:1–13 (Brookings Institution) Google Scholar
  5. Boykoff M (2007) From convergence to contention: United States mass media representations of anthropogenic climate change science. Trans Inst Br Geogr 32:477–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boykoff M (2013) Public enemy no. 1? Understanding media representations of outlier views on climate change. Am Behav Sci 57:796–817. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764213476846 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cameron T (2005) Individual option prices for climate change mitigation. J Pub Econ 89(2–3):283–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carlsson F, Kataria M, Krupnick A, Lampi E, Löfgren Å, Qin P, Chung S, Sterner T (2012) Paying for mitigation: a multiple country study. Land Econ 88(2):326–340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carlsson F, Kataria M, Krupnick A, Lampi E, Löfgren Å, Qin P, Sterner T (2013) A fair share: burden-sharing preferences in the United States and China. Resou Energy Econ 35(1):1–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. CBO (2009) Congressional budget office cost estimate: H.R. 2454 American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009”. United States Congressional Budget Office. June 5, 2009. http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/hr2454.pdf. Accessed 15 Jan 2014
  11. Charles KK, Hurst E (2003) The correlation of wealth across generations. J Polit Econ 111(6):1155–1182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Charles KK, Danziger S, Li G, Schoeni R (2014) The intergenerational correlation of consumption expenditures. Am Econ Rev 104(5):136–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. China Climate Change Communication Center (2013) Public climate change awareness and climate change communication in China. http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/files/2sided-highlights-China-e.pdf. Accessed 1 Oct 2014
  14. Dienes C (2015) Action and intentions to pay for climate change mitigation: environmental concern and the role of economic factors. Ecol Econ 109:122–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Duan H, Lv Y, Li Y (2015) Chinese public’s willingness to pay for CO2 emissions reductions: a case study from four provinces/cities. Adv Clim Change Res 5(2):100–110. https://doi.org/10.3724/SP.J.1248.2014.100 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dunlap RE (2013) Climate change skepticism and denial: an introduction. Am Behav Sci 57:691–698. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764213477097 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dunlap RE, McCright AM (2008) A widening gap: republican and democratic views on climate change. Environment 50:26–35. https://doi.org/10.3200/envt.50.5.26-35 Google Scholar
  18. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2013) Summary for policymakers. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner GK et al (eds) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 1–33Google Scholar
  19. Jamelske E, Barrett J, Boulter J (2013) Comparing climate change awareness, perceptions, and beliefs of college students in the United States and China. J Environ Stud Sci 3:269–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jamelske E, Boulter J, Jang W, Barrett J, Miller L, Han WL (2015) Examining differences in public opinion on climate change between college students in China and the United States. J Environ Stud Sci 5(2):87–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jamelske E, Boulter J, Jang W, Miller L, Han WL (2017) Support for an international climate change treaty among American and Chinese adults. Int J Clim Change Impacts Responses 9(1):53–70Google Scholar
  22. Kanninen B (ed) (2007) Valuing environmental amenities using stated choice studies: a common sense approach to theory and practice. Springer, Dordecht, pp 159–202Google Scholar
  23. Kotchen MJ, Boyle KJ, Leiserowitz AA (2013) Willingness-to-pay and policy-instrument choice for climate change policy in the United States. Energy Policy 55:617–625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Krosnick J, MacInnis B (2013) Does the American public support legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Daedalus 142(1):26–39 (MIT Press) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Leiserowitz A, Maibach E, Roser-Renouf C, Feinberg G, Howe P (2013) Global warming’s six Americas, September 2012. Yale University and George Mason University, New Haven, CT: Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/files/Six-Americas-September-2012.pdf. Accessed 1 October 2014
  26. Leiserowitz A, Maibach E, Roser-Renouf C, Feinberg G, and Rosenthal S, (2014). “Politics & Global Warming, Spring 2014.” Yale University and George Mason University. New Haven, CT: Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/files/Politics_and_Global_Warming.pdf. Accessed 1 Oct 2014
  27. Li Y, Mu X, Schiller A, Zheng B (2016) Willingness to pay for climate change mitigation: evidence from China. Energy J 37(1):179–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Liu JC-E, Leiserowitz A (2009) From red to green? Environmental attitudes and behavior in urban China. Environment 51:32–45. https://doi.org/10.3200/ENV.51.4.32-45 Google Scholar
  29. Lopez-Feldman A (2010) Doubleb: Stata module to estimate contingent valuation using Double-Bounded Dichotomous Choice Model. http://ideas.repec.org/c/boc/bocode/s457168.html
  30. Lopez-Feldman A (2012) Introduction to contingent valuation using Stata. MPRA Paper No. 41018, http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/41018/
  31. McCright AM (2010) The effects of gender on climate change knowledge and concern in the American public. Popul Environ 32(1):66–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McCright AM, Dunlap RE (2011a) Cool dudes: the detail of climate change among conservative white males in the United States. Global Environ Change 21(4):1163–1172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McCright AM, Dunlap RE (2011b) The politicization of climate change and polarization in the American public’s views of global warming, 2001–2010. Sociol Q 52(2):155–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Melillo JM, Richmond TC, Yohe GW (eds) (2014) Highlights of climate change impacts in the united states: the third national climate assessment. US Global Change Research Program, p 148Google Scholar
  35. Miller J (2013) Should the US implement a carbon tax?” The energy collective. http://theenergycollective.com/jemillerep/218116/should-us-implement-carbon-tax
  36. Nemet GF, Johnson E (2010) Willingness to pay for climate policy: a review of estimates. La Follette School Working Paper no. 2010-011. SSRN:http://ssrn.com/abstract=1626931 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1626931
  37. O’Connor M, Spash CL (eds) (1999) Valuation and the environment. Edward Elgar Publishing Inc., NorthamptonGoogle Scholar
  38. Pew Research Center (2008) A deeper partisan divide over global warming. http://www.people-press.org/files/legacy-pdf/417.pdf. Accessed 1 Oct 2014
  39. Pew Research Center (2009) Trends in political values and core attitudes: 1987–2009. http://www.people-press.org/files/legacy-pdf/517.pdf. Accessed 1 Oct 2014
  40. Pew Research Center (2013a) GOP deeply divided over climate change. http://www.people-press.org/files/legacy-pdf/11-1-13%20Global%20Warming%20Release.pdf. Accessed 1 Oct 2014
  41. Pew Research Center (2013b) Public’s policy priorities: 1994–2013. http://www.people-press.org/files/legacy-pdf/01-24-13%20Prioritie%20Release.pdf. Accessed 1 Oct 2014
  42. Pizer WA (2002) Combining price and quantity controls to mitigate global climate change. J Publ Econ 85(3):409–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rabe BG, Borick CP (2010) The climate of belief: American public opinion on climate change. Issues Gov Stud. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2010/1/climate%20rabe%20borick/01_climate_rabe_borick. Accessed 1 Oct 2014
  44. Sanger DE (2001) Bush will continue to oppose Kyoto Pact on global warming. NY Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/12/world/bush-will-continue-to-oppose-kyoto-pact-on-global-warming.html. Accessed 1 Oct 2014
  45. Scarpa R, Bateman I (2000) Efficiency gains afforded by improved bid design versus follow-up valuation questions in discrete-choice CV studies. Land Econ 76(2):299–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Schiermeier Q (2012) The Kyoto Protocol: hot air. Nature 491:656–658. https://doi.org/10.1038/491656a CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Schleich J, Dutschke E, Schwirplies C, Ziegler A (2016) Citizen’s perceptions of justice in international climate policy: an empirical analysis. Clim Policy 16(10):50–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Solon G (1999) Intergenerational mobility in the labor market. In: Ashen-felter O, Card D (eds) Handbook of labor economics. Elsevier Science, North-Holland, pp 1761–1800Google Scholar
  49. Tietenberg T, Lewis L (2014) Environmental and natural resource economics. Routledge an imprint of Taylor & Francis Group, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  50. USEPA (2010a) Supplemental EPA Analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. United States Environmental Protection Agency, January29, 2010Google Scholar
  51. USEPA (2010b) EPA Analysis of the American Power Act of 2010. United States Environmental Protection Agency, June14, 2010Google Scholar
  52. Venkatachalam L (2004) The contingent valuation method: a review. Environ Impact Assess Rev 24(1):89–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wagner F, Amann M, Borken-Kleefeld J, Cofala J, Hoeglund-Isaksson L, Purohit P, Rafaj P, Schoepp W, Winiwarter W (2012) Sectoral marginal abatement cost curves: implications for mitigation pledges and air pollution co-benefits for Annex I countries. Sustain Sci 7(2):169–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Yang J, Zou L, Lin T, Wu Y, Wang H (2014) Public willingness to pay for CO2 mitigation and the determinants under climate change: a case study of Suzhou, China. J Environ Manage 146:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Economics DepartmentUniversity of Wisconsin-WhitewaterWhitewaterUSA
  2. 2.Economics DepartmentUniversity of Wisconsin-Eau ClaireEau ClaireUSA
  3. 3.Uni Research Rokkan CenterBergenNorway

Personalised recommendations