Nudging out support for a carbon tax

David Hagmann*, Emily H. Ho, George Loewenstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

A carbon tax is widely accepted as the most effective policy for curbing carbon emissions but is controversial because it imposes costs on consumers. An alternative, ‘nudge,’ approach promises smaller benefits but with much lower costs. However, nudges aimed at reducing carbon emissions could have a pernicious indirect effect if they offer the promise of a ‘quick fix’ and thereby undermine support for policies of greater impact. Across six experiments, including one conducted with individuals involved in policymaking, we show that introducing a green energy default nudge diminishes support for a carbon tax. We propose that nudges decrease support for substantive policies by providing false hope that problems can be tackled without imposing considerable costs. Consistent with this account, we show that by minimizing the perceived economic cost of the tax and disclosing the small impact of the nudge, eliminates crowding-out without diminishing support for the nudge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-489
Number of pages6
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Nudging out support for a carbon tax'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this