Mass Support for Climate Cooperation Depends on Institutional Design

Item Type Journal paper
Abstract Effective climate mitigation requires international cooperation and these global efforts need broad public support to be sustainable over the long run. We provide estimates of public support for different types of climate agreements in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Using data from a large-scale experimental survey, we explore how three key dimensions of global climate cooperation---costs and distribution, participation, and enforcement---affect individuals' willingness to support these international efforts. We find that design features have significant effects on public support. Specifically, our results indicate that support is higher for global climate agreements that involve lower costs, distribute costs according to prominent fairness principles, encompass more countries, and include a small sanction if a country fails to meet its emissions reduction targets. In contrast to well documented baseline differences in public support for climate mitigation efforts, opinion responds similarly to changes in climate policy design in all four countries. We also find that the effects of institutional design features can bring about decisive changes in the level of public support for a global climate agreement. Moreover, the results appear consistent with the view that the sensitivity of public support to design features reflects underlying norms of reciprocity and individuals' beliefs about the potential effectiveness of specific agreements.
Authors Bechtel, Michael M. & Scheve, Kenneth F.
Projects Bechtel, Michael M.; Scheve, Kenneth F. & Diekmann, Andreas (2011) Invidiual Preferences for International Environmental Cooperation [fundamental research project] Official URL
Journal or Publication Title Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Language English
Keywords international institutions, environmental cooperation, global warming, international relationspublic opinion
Subjects political science
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
Refereed Yes
Date August 2013
Publisher PNAS National Academy of Sciences
Place of Publication Washington
Volume 110
Number 34
Page Range 13763-13768
Number of Pages 6
Publisher DOI
Depositing User Prof. Dr. Michael Bechtel
Date Deposited 17 Jul 2013 08:13
Last Modified 20 Jul 2022 17:17



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Bechtel, Michael M. & Scheve, Kenneth F. (2013) Mass Support for Climate Cooperation Depends on Institutional Design. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110 (34). 13763-13768.

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