The roles of social norms and economic reasoning in shaping support for carbon pricing (joint work with Ximeng Fang)
In many countries, carbon pricing policies have not been implemented to the extent advocated by economists, partly due to fears of consumers’ and voters’ backlash. In this study, we conduct an online survey experiment with a representative sample of U.S. adults (N = 2,685) to investigate the determinants of support for carbon pricing policies. In particular, we focus on the roles of perceived social norms about climate action as well as reasoning about the economic mechanisms and impacts of carbon pricing. Our results show that both social norms and economic reasoning play an important role in determining public support for (climate) policies. Providing information through video interventions on either of these two aspects increases stated policy support for carbon pricing by around 5 percentage points, with the effect being concentrated among Democrats and Independents. We find no effects of information on donations to environmental charities. Low-cost information provision can thus sway people who are already amenable, but it may take more to overcome the deeply entrenched opposition.