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Article
Inequality, Communication and the Avoidance of Disastrous Climate Change in a Public Goods Game
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. (2011)
  • Alessandro Tavoni, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Astrid Dannenberg
  • Giorgos Kallis, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona
  • Andreas Loeschel
Abstract

International efforts to provide global public goods often face the challenges of coordinating national contributions and distributing costs equitably in the face of uncertainty, inequality, and free-riding incentives. In an experimental setting, we distribute endowments unequally among a group of people who can reach a fixed target sum through successive money contributions, knowing that if they fail they will lose all their remaining money with 50% probability. In some treatments we give players the option to communicate intended contributions. We find that inequality reduces the prospects of reaching the target, but that communication increases success dramatically. Successful groups tend to eliminate inequality over the course of the game, with rich players signaling willingness to redistribute early on. Our results suggest that coordination-promoting institutions and early redistribution from richer to poorer nations are both decisive for the avoidance of global calamities such as disruptive climate change.

Keywords
  • threshold public good,
  • climate burden,
  • experimental economics,
  • cooperation,
  • self-serving bias
Publication Date
July 5, 2011
Publisher Statement
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/06/27/1102493108.abstract
Citation Information
Alessandro Tavoni, Astrid Dannenberg, Giorgos Kallis and Andreas Loeschel. "Inequality, Communication and the Avoidance of Disastrous Climate Change in a Public Goods Game" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. Vol. 108 (2011)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/tavoni/5/