Nudging Climate Change Mitigation: A Laboratory Experiment with Inter-Generational Public Goods
2. A Game of Multi-Level Conflict in Climate Change Mitigation
2.1. Players and Generations
2.2. Intra-Generational Conflict
2.3. Inter-Generational Conflict
2.4. Game Predictions
2.5. Game Parameters
3. Related Literature
3.1. Conflict Structure of Climate Change Mitigation
3.2. Nudges toward Climate Change Mitigation
4. Treatments and Hypotheses
5. Materials and Methods (Experimental Procedures)
6.1. Contributions in the baseline Treatment
6.2. Contributions in the default Treatment
6.3. Contributions in the default+commitment Treatment
6.4. Regression Analysis
7.1. Limitations and Outlook
Conflicts of Interest
- Participation fee: Each participant in this experiment will receive 5 Euros. This remuneration is independent of the decisions and the earnings of the experiment.
- Earnings from the experiment: During the experiment, your income is first calculated in points. The total number of points that you score during the experiment will be converted into Euros at the end of the experiment, using the following conversion scheme: 10 points = 1.50 Euros.
- You are part of a group of 3 members. Throughout the experiment, you will interact exclusively with the members of your group.
- Your group belongs to a series with a total of 3 groups, each also consisting of 3 members. The groups of one series will take part in the experiment in succession. That is, the first group in the series has a successor group, the second one has a predecessor and a successor group, and the third group has only a predecessor group.
- Your group’s position in the series will be communicated to you on the screen before the start of the experiment.
- Your task in this experiment is to make a contribution decision.
- All members of the first group in a series will receive an initial endowment of 30 points.
- All participants of a group will make their contribution decisions simultaneously and independently of each other.
- There are two projects available for the contribution decision, to which each member of the group can contribute any number of points of his/her initial endowment. You have to decide how many points you will contribute to each of the two projects.
- You will keep any points that you do not contribute to the projects in your private account.
- Each point contributed to Project I will be multiplied by 1.8 and distributed evenly to all group members.
- This means that for each contributed point, each of the 3 group members will receive 0.6 points from the project, regardless of which group member contributed that point.
- Each point contributed in Project II will be multiplied by 1.2 and distributed evenly to all group members.
- This means that for each contributed point, each of the 3 group members will receive 0.4 points from the project, regardless of which group member contributed that point.
- For each of the 3 groups, a contribution threshold applies, which is reached if the sum of all contributions of a group is at least 45 points. In order to reach this threshold, it does not matter whether the points were only contributed to Project I, Project II, or both.
- If the contribution threshold is reached in a group, the experiment will continue and the successor group will make its contribution decision.
- If the contribution threshold in a group is not reached, the game will terminate with a probability of 80%. All members of the active group and all members of the successor group(s) will lose their payoff from both projects and their initial endowment. In this case, the experiment will be over for you.
- With a probability of 20%, the game will not terminate if the contribution threshold has not been reached, but will continue, and the successor group will make their contribution decisions.
- In the first group of a series, the initial endowment available to each group member is 30 points.
- For the second and third group, the initial endowment is determined by the relationship between the contribution threshold and the sum of contributions in Project II from the predecessor group.
- If, in the predecessor group, the number of points invested in Project II equals or exceeds the contribution threshold of 45 points, the initial endowment increases by 5 points for each member of the successor group. If, in the predecessor group, the number of points invested in Project II falls below the contribution threshold of 45 points, the initial endowment for each member of the successor group is reduced by 5 points.
- Sum of the contributions of the members of the currently playing group to Projects I and II,
- Information on whether the contribution threshold has been reached. If it has not, information on whether the game will terminate or not,
- If the game is not over, then information about whether the initial endowment of the successor group is increasing or decreasing (except for the third group).
|Contribution to Project I||15||5||0|
|Sum of the contributions to Project I||20|
|Earnings from Project I||20 × 0.6 = 12|
|Contribution to Project II||10||8||3|
|Sum of the contributions to Project II||21|
|Earnings from Project II||21 × 0.4 = 8.4|
|Keep in private account||5||17||27|
|Total earnings||12 + 8.4 + 5 = 25.4||12 + 8.4 + 17 = 37.4||12 + 8.4 + 27 = 47.4|
- If termination of the game occurs, your earnings from the experiment will be as follows:Your earnings from the experiment = Your endowment − your contribution to Project I − your contribution to Project II + 0.6 × Sum of the points in Project I + 0.4 × Sum of the points in Project II
- If a termination occurs in your group or predecessor group, your earnings from the experiment will be zero.
- Regardless of a possible termination, each participant will receive 5 Euro as a participation fee.
|Dependent Variable: |
Contribution to Long-Term Pool
|Player in G2||0.578||0.601||0.336||−0.600–1.756|
Relative Contribution to Long-Term Pool
|Player in G2||4.113||2.396||0.086||−0.584–8.810|
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These parameters imply a discount rate of 0.33 from one generation to the next generation.
Note that in Milinski et al. , players know the exact probability of losing their endowment if they fail to reach the contribution threshold. In contrast, Barrett and Dannenberg  consider the scientific uncertainty by modeling both the threshold level as well as the probability of losing as an uncertain value with a uniform distribution. They show that uncertainty about the threshold level reduces contributions considerably.
The second light was only shown to participants in generations with a subsequent generation, i.e., generations 1 and 2.
Note, that the term “contract” is strictly speaking not correct, since future generations take part without their consent. Therefore, a more precise term would be “agreement”.
In the default+commitment treatment, we had two sessions with only 9 participants each. With respect to the main variables of interest (overall contributions, short-term and long-term contributions), there were no significant differences between the 9-person and 18-person sessions.
Note that in G3, as could be expected, the average sum of tokens contributed to the short-term pool significantly exceeds the sum of tokens contributed to the long-term pool, irrespective of treatment (Wilcoxon-signed-rank tests; baseline: Z = 3.5, p < 0.001; default: Z = 4.7, p < 0.001; default+commitment: Z = 5.1, p < 0.001). Interestingly, in all treatments, the majority of participants in G3 contributed a positive amount to the long-term pool. Unless otherwise stated, we report two-sided p-values for all tests.
|Dependent Variable: |
Contribution to Long-Term Pool
|Player in G2||0.682||0.540||0.207||−0.377–1.741|
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Böhm, R.; Gürerk, Ö.; Lauer, T. Nudging Climate Change Mitigation: A Laboratory Experiment with Inter-Generational Public Goods. Games 2020, 11, 42. https://doi.org/10.3390/g11040042
Böhm R, Gürerk Ö, Lauer T. Nudging Climate Change Mitigation: A Laboratory Experiment with Inter-Generational Public Goods. Games. 2020; 11(4):42. https://doi.org/10.3390/g11040042Chicago/Turabian Style
Böhm, Robert, Özgür Gürerk, and Thomas Lauer. 2020. "Nudging Climate Change Mitigation: A Laboratory Experiment with Inter-Generational Public Goods" Games 11, no. 4: 42. https://doi.org/10.3390/g11040042