Article

How do people update? The effects of local weather fluctuations on beliefs about global warming

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Abstract

Global warming has become a controversial public policy issue in spite of broad scientific consensus that it is real and that human activity is a contributing factor. It is likely that public consensus is also needed to support policies that might counteract it. It is therefore important to understand how people form and update their beliefs about climate change. Using unique survey data on beliefs about the occurrence of the effects of global warming, I estimate how local temperature fluctuations influence what individuals believe about these effects. I find that some features of the updating process are consistent with rational updating. I also test explicitly for the presence of several heuristics known to affect belief formation and find strong evidence for representativeness, some evidence for availability, and no evidence for spreading activation. I find that very short-run temperature fluctuations (1 day–2 weeks) have no effect on beliefs about the occurrence of global warming, but that longer-run fluctuations (1 month–1 year) are significant predictors of beliefs. Only respondents with a conservative political ideology are affected by temperature abnormalities.

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... Similarly, time series studies that examine the relationship between regional climate changes and individuals' opinion implicitly assume that individuals who live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from each other experience climate change in the same way (Marquart-Pyatt et al., 2014;Zahran et al., 2006). Other panel and cross-sectional work explicitly examines links between individual opinion and local climate indicators (Konisky et al., 2016;Egan and Mullin, 2012;Brooks et al., 2014;Palm et al., 2017;Scruggs and Benegal, 2012;Brody et al., 2008;Goebbert et al., 2012;Hamilton and Keim, 2009;Hamilton and Stampone, 2013;Deryugina, 2013;Howe, 2018). These papers match respondents more precisely with the climate extremes they actually experience. ...
... Weather patterns are often assumed to be exogenous (i.e., unrelated to demographics, attitudes, or other variables of interest in a model), but this may not be the case, especially at state or regional scales. Thus, scholars should, at a minimum, include geographic fixed effects in their models to ensure valid comparability between individuals who experience a temperature anomaly and those who do not (Deryugina, 2013;Egan and Mullin, 2012;Bergquist and Warshaw, 2019). We thus use a more sophisticated analytical approach to investigate the potential causal relationship between experienced weather and perception, including a sensitivity analysis to account for potential unobserved confounding variables. ...
... We use LPM models to maximize transparency and interpretability. Similar to prior work (Egan and Mullin, 2012;Deryugina, 2013;Bergquist and Warshaw, 2019;Konisky et al., 2016) that seeks to make causal claims from observational data, our causal identification strategy rests on the exogenous assignment of weather experiences to members of the public. Conceptually, this means that, conditional on geography, people do not choose to live in areas that are experiencing the effects of climate change because of their political identities or other factors that also influence their perceptions of climate change. ...
Article
Public perceptions of climate change in the United States are deeply rooted in cultural values and political identities. Yet, as the public experiences extreme weather and other climate change-related impacts, their perceptions of the issue may shift. Here, we explore whether, when, and where local climate trends have already influenced perceived experiences of global warming in the United States. Using a large national survey dataset (n = 13,607), we compare Americans’ experiences of climate with corresponding trends in seven different high-resolution climate indicators for the period 2008 to 2015. We find that increases in hot dry day exposure significantly increases individuals’ perceptions that they have personally experienced global warming. We do not find robust evidence that other precipitation and temperature anomalies have had a similar effect. We also use multilevel modeling to explore county-level patterns of perceived experiences with climate change. Whereas the individual-level analysis describes a likely causal relationship between a changing climate and individuals’ perceived experience, the multilevel model depicts county-level changes in perceived experience resulting from particular climate trends. Overall, we find that exposure to hot dry days, has a modest influence on perceived experience, independent of the political and socio-demographic factors that dominate U.S. climate opinions today.
... As we show, despite extensive research efforts, the relationship between weather and climate opinions still remains unclear. Several recent studies point to an association between elevated temperatures [5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19] or extreme weather events [20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27] with greater climate change concern, belief that human-caused climate change is happening, or support for climate policies. Other studies, however, do not support such a relationship [28][29][30][31][32][33][34]. ...
... [9,63]). Other studies that have examined associations between short-term temperature and climate opinions have found no effect [7,19,64]. ...
... This finding is reflected in similar studies that have examined seasonal-to-annual temperatures, e.g. [7,8,17,19,20,63,64,[66][67][68]. For example three studies find that 10 year summer temperature trends are positively related to beliefs about human-caused global warming in the US [19,64,66]. ...
Article
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As climate change intensifies, global publics will experience more unusual weather and extreme weather events. How will individual experiences with these weather trends shape climate change beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors? In this article, we review 73 papers that have studied the relationship between climate change experiences and public opinion. Overall, we find mixed evidence that weather shapes climate opinions. Although there is some support for a weak effect of local temperature and extreme weather events on climate opinion, the heterogeneity of independent variables, dependent variables, study populations, and research designs complicate systematic comparison. To advance research on this critical topic, we suggest that future studies pay careful attention to differences between self-reported and objective weather data, causal identification, and the presence of spatial autocorrelation in weather and climate data. Refining research designs and methods in future studies will help us understand the discrepancies in results, and allow better detection of effects, which have important practical implications for climate communication. As the global population increasingly experiences weather conditions outside the range of historical experience, researchers, communicators, and policymakers need to understand how these experiences shape-and are shaped by-public opinions and behaviors.
... Numerous studies have assessed the relationship by linking spatially disaggregated opinion data with objective weather data Sisco, 2021). Climate parameters under investigation have included long-term climatic patterns and trends (Shao, 2017) as well as seasonal, monthly and daily temperature anomalies relative to a statistically constructed baseline (Bergquist & Warshaw, 2019;Bohr, 2017;Deryugina, 2013;Marlon et al., 2021;Shao, 2016). A related strand of literature has produced ample evidence for a link between climate change beliefs and short-run weather fluctuations, which has been termed the "local warming effect" (Damsbo-Svendsen, 2020; Joireman et al., 2010;Zaval et al., 2014). ...
... There are several potential mechanisms through which personal experience of weather events could influence climate change perceptions, theoretically founded in both economics and cognitive science. In first instance, people may update their prior beliefs and behaviour through a Bayesian updating process (Deryugina, 2013;Druckman & Mcgrath, 2019;Larcom et al., 2019). According to Bayes' Rule, climate change belief is a function of prior beliefs combined with new available information from an observed signal (Holt & Smith, 2009). ...
... For instance, people may be subject to an "availability" heuristic, under which they give greater weight to recent salient events when computing the probability of an event to occur (Tversky & Kahneman, 1973). Recent research finds support for this hypothesis, showing that short-lived changes in climate change beliefs during major heatwaves are likely to be explained by a salience effect rather than through a Bayesian process of updating (Bordalo et al., 2012;Deryugina, 2013;Larcom et al., 2019). ...
Thesis
Human behaviour lies at the heart of the climate crisis. Not only is it the primary cause of global climate change and environmental degradation, but also key to responding and adapting to them. Tackling the climate crisis thus requires a complete understanding of human behaviour. So far, however, environmental policies have largely been guided by the canonical economic model of human behaviour, based on the idea of ‘homo economicus’, neglecting important behavioural aspects of the relationship between human behaviour and the environment. This thesis examines some of the complex interrelations between human behaviour and the environment through a behavioural environmental economics lens, drawing on recent insights from behavioural economics and psychology. The first part of this thesis (Chapters 1 and 2) focuses on the impact of environmental stressors on human behaviour, attitudes and beliefs. The second part (Chapters 3 and 4) examines the impact of policy interventions to foster more environmentally sustainable behaviour. All chapters adopt an experimental or quasi-experimental approach to provide causal insights and formulate robust policy recommendations. Chapter 1 develops and tests a novel experimental design, that exploits natural discontinuities in air pollution episodes in Beijing, China to experimentally isolate the causal effect of acute air pollution on social decision-making and economic preferences. Chapter 2 utilises data from a natural experiment to estimate the causal effect of extreme weather events on climate change attitudes and pro-environmental behaviours. Chapter 3 uses an online ‘message framing’ experiment to explore whether appealing to ‘warm glow’ motives can encourage voluntary pro-environmental behaviour, relative to other common climate change communication strategies. Chapter 4 presents the results of a large-scale field experiment conducted at five university cafeterias, exploring whether carbon footprint labels can promote more sustainable food choices.
... Recent research demonstrates that personal experience and vulnerability to climate change affect public opinion. Exposure to symptoms of climate change such as warmer temperatures, extreme weather, and natural hazards are potentially associated with increased belief in the existence of climate change (Deryugina, 2013;Druckman, 2015;Egan and Mullin, 2012;Joireman, Barnes Truelove and Duell, 2010;Konisky, Hughes and Kaylor, 2016;Zaval et al., 2014), although the duration of these effects might be limited (Druckman and Shafranek, 2016;Konisky, Hughes and Kaylor, 2016). ...
... First, flood experience could influence attitudes about climate change harm. In particular, recent experience of floods could increase the acknowledgement of climate change harm in affected communities (Deryugina, 2013;Druckman, 2015;Egan and Mullin, 2012;Joireman, Barnes Truelove and Duell, 2010;Konisky, Hughes and Kaylor, 2016;Zaval et al., 2014). Flood experience could lead to changes in attitudes about climate change harm as the amount of damage increases (Thistlethwaite et al., 2018). ...
Preprint
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Despite increasing evidence of the effects of climate change and scientific consensus about its threat, significant political barriers to climate action remain in the US. American public opinion about climate change is generally perceived as stable and sharply divided along partisan lines. However, less is known about the relationship between flood sensitivity and public opinion about climate change. Combining the ND-GAIN Urban Adaptation Assessment data of American cities with public opinion data from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, this paper demonstrates the positive association between flood sensitivity and beliefs about climate change, risk perceptions, and support for climate action. These results have important implications for the understanding of public opinion about climate change, suggesting that flood sensitivity shapes perceptions of climate change. The results also have important implications for advocates of political action, suggesting that making flood sensitivity salient could help mobilize public support for climate action.
... The association between temperature and climate change perceptions indicated that instant heat experience could reshape public opinion. However, some studies have found little or no effect of temperature experiences on climate change opinion (Deryugina, 2013). A major approach in this area was to join temperature data with georeferenced opinion data and then build a statistical relationship between the two variables. ...
... However, this cross-sectional analysis had a limited capacity to identify causal effects (Howe et al., 2019). Moreover, aggregated data could not ensure people in one place had the same temperature exposure, which might cause ecological fallacy (Deryugina, 2013). In this regard, longitudinal studies should be adopted to examine how shifts in climate change perceptions may be associated heat wave events at the individual level. ...
Article
Issuing early heat warnings and enhancing public climate change awareness and engagement are important local policy options for heat wave adaptation. Here, we used a laboratory experiment to inform major gaps in making these two policies, including setting proper thresholds for heat alerting systems and figuring out how heat experience shifts individuals’ climate change perceptions. Taking Nanjing as a case city, we simulated a heat event by increasing temperature from 25 °C to 40 °C (70% relative humidity) in a climate chamber and recruited 58 young adults as participants. Physical thermal responses, including skin temperature and heart rate variability, were recorded using portable devices. Subjective thermal perceptions, climate change belief and psychological distance were measured by self-rated scales before, during, and after the exposure. We found physiological responses were correlated with subjective thermal perceptions and showed sharp rises from 30° to 35°C, presenting aggravated thermal discomfort. Moreover, heat exposure increased climate change belief and reduced psychological distance significantly. After the experiment, follow-up surveys showed participants had a short memory of the heat exposure, but daily temperature variations still predicted climate change belief. The findings suggest in our case city, the current threshold (35 °C) for heat warnings may not be safe enough. Local authorities should consider prolonged periods of hot weather with temperature between 30 and 35 °C. Due to strong links between heat experience and climate change perceptions, we encourage to take this “window of opportunity” when heat events occur to communicate climate risks and enact post-event policy changes.
... Studies that have measured the effect of observed temperature fluctuations on climate change beliefs provide evidence that abnormally warm temperatures in the short term (Joireman et al., 2010;Egan and Mullin, 2012;Hamilton and Stampone, 2013) and the long term (Deryugina, 2013;Shao et al., 2014Shao, 2017) are important predictors of climate change beliefs and risk perceptions. For example, three 10-year studies in the U.S. reported a positive relationship between increasing summer temperatures and belief in the immediate impacts and severity of climate change (Shao et al., 2014. ...
... Other studies, however, did not find clear associations between short and long-term local temperature fluctuations and climate change concern (Li et al., 2011). and Deryugina (2013) argued that this may be due to differences in measurements of short-term temperature (i.e., monthly rather than daily data) and survey questions used to assess climate change beliefs. Alternatively, Brody et al. (2008) indicated a possible misunderstanding of the risks presented by long-term temperature change on individual well-being. ...
Article
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Global climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts, and flooding. This is the primary way many individuals experience climate change, which has led researchers to investigate the influence of personal experience on climate change concern and action. However, existing evidence is still limited and in some cases contradictory. At the same time, behavioral decision research has highlighted the importance of pre-existing values and beliefs in shaping how individuals experience changes in environmental conditions. This is in line with theories of motivated reasoning, which suggest that people interpret and process information in a biased manner to maintain their prior beliefs. Yet, the evidence for directional motivated reasoning in the context of climate change beliefs has recently been questioned. In the current paper, we critically review the literature on the interrelationships between personal experience of local weather anomalies, extreme weather events and climate change beliefs. Overall, our review shows that there is some evidence that local warming can generate climate change concern, but the capacity for personal experience to promote action may rely upon the experience first being attributed to climate change. Rare extreme weather events will likely have limited impact on judgments and decisions unless they have occurred recently. However, even recent events may have limited impact among individuals who hold strong pre-existing beliefs rejecting the reality of climate change. We identify limitations of existing research and suggest directions for future work.
... For example, abnormal temperatures affect attitudes about climate change in the short-term (Borick and Rabe, 2014;Deryugina, 2013;Egan and Mullin, 2012;Hamilton and Stampone, 2013;Joireman et al., 2010;Kaufmann et al., 2017;Zaval et al., 2014). van der Linden (2015) finds that experiential factors explain significantly more variance in climate change risk perception than cognitive or socio-demographic characteristics. ...
... A recurrent finding of this literature is the relevance of prior attitudes or beliefs for the belief updating process. It has been shown in numerous contexts that people with different political or ideological worldviews react differently to extreme weather experience (Bohr, 2017;Boudet et al., 2020;Capstick and Pidgeon, 2014;Carlton et al., 2016;Deryugina, 2013;Hamilton and Stampone, 2013;Ogunbode et al., 2017;Zanocco et al., 2018). Very roughly summarized, climate change beliefs of politically liberal or left-leaning individuals are often more responsive to extreme weather experience than beliefs of respondents that are more conservative. ...
Article
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Public support of climate policies crucially depends on climate change beliefs. Here we analyze the effects of natural disaster experience on the belief in the existence of climate change. The primary data source is a panel survey covering 22,251 observations from 11,194 geo-located households collected in Germany between 2012 and 2015, combined with satellite imagery of a major flood event in 2013. We find that flood experience had a significant positive effect on the beliefs in the existence of climate change for those respondents living close to the flooded area. However, the effect decreases sharply with distance. We further show that this overall effect is driven by those respondents who already believed in climate change before the flood – they saw their belief confirmed by their experience. In contrast, spatial proximity to the flood had no measurable effect on skeptics. These results imply that climate skeptics may not be influenced by the experience of natural disasters at their doorsteps.
... Tversky and Kahneman 1974;Kahneman et al. 1991;Camerer and Loewenstein 2011). Studies have found that subjective expectations to climate are inconsistent with predictions from rational expectations (Cameron 2005), such that people significantly over-adjust their expectations to climate in response to recent, local, and extreme weather events (Marx et al. 2007;Deryugina 2013;Konisky et al. 2016;Lee et al. 2018). Through expectation formation, economic decisions that require forward-looking inference on climate may be subject to a disproportionately large influence from past weather fluctuations. ...
... The availability heuristic describes the phenomenon in which individuals place higher probabilities on events that are foremost in their memory. Often known as the recency bias, the availability heuristic has been documented in multiple empirical settings involving learning and expectation formation, and especially on events with small probabilities, for example, flood risks (Gallagher 2014), climate change (Deryugina 2013), and financial markets (Malmendier and Nagel 2011). In the case of agricultural production, studies have also suggested that farmers often turn to familiar patterns from the past two agricultural seasons, or to those happening at the time of other memorable events (Marx et al. 2007). ...
Article
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One premise adopted in most previous studies is that weather fluctuations affect economic outcomes contemporaneously. Yet under certain circumstances, the impact of weather fluctuations in the current year can be carried over into the future. Using agricultural production as an example, we empirically investigate how past weather fluctuations affect economic decision-making by shifting agents’ subjective expectations over future climate. We find that agricultural producers do not form expectations on future climate using only long-run normals, and instead engage in a combination of heuristics, including the availability heuristic and the reinforcement strategy. Adopting these learning mechanisms causes farmers to significantly over-react to more recent fluctuations in weather and water availability when making ex ante acreage and crop allocation decisions.
... Nevertheless, according to specialist literature, several country-level characteristics also affect crossnational differences. Climate impacts, such as repeated experiences of extreme weather events (prolonged periods of abnormally warm or cold temperatures, droughts, and floods), contribute to a country"s perceived vulnerability to climate change (Deryugina 2013;Spence et al. 2011;Zhou 2015). Another significant factor is the media coverage of climate change and "the role of elite cues and public expressions of opinions regarding climate change in political discourse", all of which directly affect the level of public concern (Carmichael -Brulle 2017: 232-233.). ...
Article
Individual Determinants of Climate Change Scepticism in the Czech Republic This article focuses on the issue of climate change scepticism among the inhabitants of the Czech Republic and pursues two objectives: to compare climate change scepticism of Czech citizens with citizens of other European countries and to examine the relationship between individual characteristics of Czech citizens and their opinion on climate change. For this purpose, the concepts of epistemic scepticism and response scepticism are employed. The data from round 8 of the European Social Survey are analysed to demonstrate the level of Czech climate change scepticism in comparison with other European countries and to examine the association between the individual characteristics of Czech citizens and climate scepticism. The results indicate that Czech citizens are among the most sceptical in Europe. Furthermore, the outcomes from a series of regression models demonstrate that both epistemic scepticism and response scepticism are associated with political trust and personal values The findings are contrasted to previous research from other European countries and differences are discussed, taking the specific Czech historical, economic and political context into account.
... Climate change beliefs have become a prototypical example of how political ideology may shape individual cognition and contribute to the polarization of societal groups [4][5][6][7]. Meta-analytic and cross-national research has illustrated that political ideology is among the most influential determinants of individual climate change beliefs, with effects most pronounced in the United States [8,9]. Of particular importance for the present research, the effects of political ideology are not restricted to individual beliefs, but translate into ideology-driven decision outcomes, for instance in the energy domain. ...
Article
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The transition towards more renewable energy will substantially increase voters’ involvement in the political decision-making process in the energy domain. Decisions such as whether to approve or reject large-scale energy programs can be complex, especially when available information cues are numerous and conflicting. Here, we hypothesize that political ideology is a strong determinant in this process, serving as a filter that voters apply when evaluating the relevance of provided information cues. We tested this hypothesis in the context of the 2017 Public Vote on the Swiss Energy Act. A sample of n = 931 Swiss voters were presented with arguments in favor or against the Energy Act, which were framed in terms of values found to be relevant for liberal and conservative ideologies, respectively. Political ideology strongly determined individual attitudes and voting preferences. Political ideology moreover moderated the influence of information provision on decisions, in that arguments congruent with voters’ political ideology were more likely to be evaluated as personally relevant and integrated into their decisions. We discuss the implications of our findings for measures on how to address ideology-based decision-making in order to ensure a well-informed electorate.
... Previous research has found no significant relationship between survey date temperature and contingent trip-taking behavior (Hestetune et al., 2018). This runs counter to a body of research which suggests a positive correlation between outdoor temperature on the day an individual completes a survey and their beliefs in global warming (Deryugina, 2013;Egan and Mullin, 2012;Hamilton and Stampone, 2013;Joireman et al., 2010;Li et al., 2011;Zaval et al., 2014). Our analysis suggests survey date temperature does affect how anglers respond to revealed trip-taking behavior questions. ...
Article
A R T I C L E I N F O Handled by Steven X. Cadrin Keywords: Recreation demand Travel cost model Contingent behavior Stated preferences Revealed preferences Non-market valuation A B S T R A C T Angling in Minnesota's North Shore faces unique threats from the impacts of climate change. These impacts, such as changes in the presence and/or abundance of specific species, present management challenges which might also influence the demand for recreational angling throughout the region. Anglers' adaptations to climate change in the North Shore region could shift densities, timing, and spatial use of the region's fish populations, increasing the stress on ecological systems. Developing an empirically grounded understanding of the contingent behaviors of anglers is imperative if the region's fish populations are to be managed sustainably. Using a travel cost model, we measure the demand for angling under current conditions and potential future climate and environmental conditions. Our research also explores the adaptive and coping behaviors of anglers. Results suggest North Shore anglers are not likely to alter the total number of trips they take to the region in the future as climate and environmental conditions change. Among the adaptive and coping behaviors we asked about, anglers indicated they are most likely to engage in a different activity (activity substitution) as conditions change; they also indicated a willingness to fish elsewhere (spatial substitution). Rescheduling or canceling angling trips (temporal substitution) was the least preferred adaptive/coping behavior. Further research is needed to understand why anglers' future trip-taking behaviors are not responsive to changes in climate and environmental conditions, though their adaptive and coping behaviors are. Our findings can be used to help managers maintain the satisfaction , experiences, and participation of future generations of anglers.
... Therefore, while not singularly attributing such events to climate change, occurrences of extreme weather represent the most tangible way in which the public perceive and recognise climate change. These events thus represent important opportunities to motivate public concern for climate action and policy to mitigate continued carbon dioxide emissions [9,10]. Furthermore, quantifying the impacts of episodic weather events across ecosystems can provide a valuable insight into how these systems respond and can serve as a tool for predicting which specific geographical areas and ecosystems may be most vulnerable to increased frequency or intensity of different types of extreme weather events. ...
Article
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The impacts of changes in climate are often most readily observed through the effects of extremes in local weather, effects that often propagate through multiple ecosystem levels. Precise effects of any extreme weather event depend not only on the type of event and its timing, but also on the ecosystem affected. Here the cascade of effects following the arrival of an atmospheric river (directed by record-breaking Storm Desmond) across terrestrial, freshwater and coastal zones is quantified, using the Burrishoole system on the Atlantic coast of Ireland as a natural observatory. We used a network of high-frequency in-situ sensors to capture in detail the effects of an unprecedented period of rainfall, high wind speeds and above-average winter air temperatures on catchment and estuarine dynamics. In the main freshwater lake, water clarity decreased and acidity increased during Storm Desmond. Surface heat input, due to a warm and moist above-lake air mass, was rapidly distributed throughout the water column. River discharge into the downstream coastal basin was estimated to be the highest on record (since 1976), increasing the buoyancy flux by an order of magnitude and doubling the water column stratification stability. Entrainment of salt into the outflowing freshwater plume exported resident salt from the inner estuarine basin, resulting in net salt loss. Here, the increased stratification markedly reinforced isolation of the bottom waters, promoting deoxygenation. Measurements of current between the inner estuarine basin and the adjacent coastal waters indicated a 20-fold increase in the volume of seaward flowing low-salinity water, as a result of storm rainfall over the watershed. Storm impacts spanned the full catchment-to-coast continuum and these results provide a glimpse into a potential future for hydrological systems where these severe hydroclimatic events are expected to occur more frequently.
... At the same time, there is a growing literature exploring local perceptions of climate change and the pathways through which perceptions influence adaptation behaviour. This literature provides compelling evidence suggesting that local perceptions of climate changeusually measured as extremes or anomalies -shape adaptation behaviour through a number of different mechanisms, such as a Bayesian updating process or through salience effects (Hansen et al., 2012;Howe et al., 2012;Deryugina, 2013;Howe and Leisworowitz, 2013;Lee et al., 2015;Demski et al., 2017;Zanocco et al., 2018). One of the key messages emerging from this literature is the importance of understanding local perceptions of climate change in order to devise appropriate climate adaptation policy responses (Larcom et al., 2019). ...
Article
Local perceptions of climate anomalies influence adaptation behaviour. Specifically, perceptions that are more accurate and homogenous at the community-level are more likely to facilitate the collective action required to adapt to the local effects of climate anomalies experienced by many indigenous communities. We combine primary data on perceptions of climate anomalies from 200 individuals in six Penan villages in Sarawak, Malaysia with instrumental climate data. We find that perceptions of climate anomalies vary substantially in terms of occurrence and magnitude, and do not generally correlate with instrumental climate data. We operationalise the Penan forest sign language (Oroo’) as a measure of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and find only weak evidence of a systematic statistical association with perceptions of climate anomalies among our sampled respondents. Our findings suggest caution in advancing adaptation strategies in indigenous communities that are predominantly premised on TEK. Instead, our findings suggest that in designing adaptation measures, indigenous communities may benefit by engaging in forums where community members and external stakeholders can come together, share their perceptions and observations of climate change, and reach a collective consensus on the community-level effects of climate change and pathways towards adaptation.
... Some scholars find that climate concerns modestly increase with experienced temperature extremes (Bergquist and Warshaw 2019;Brooks et al. 2014). Others find no effects (Brulle, Carmichael, and Jenkins 2012;Mildenberger and Leiserowitz 2017), only ephemeral effects (Deryugina 2013;Egan and Mullin 2012;Konisky, Hughes, and Kaylor 2016), or that effects are limited to particular political subgroups (Hamilton and Stampone 2013). Evidence for the relationship between climate-related hazards and reported attitudes is similarly mixed. ...
Article
One political barrier to climate reforms is the temporal mismatch between short-term policy costs and long-term policy benefits. Will public support for climate reforms increase as climate-related disasters make the short-term costs of inaction more salient? Leveraging variation in the timing of Californian wildfires, we evaluate how exposure to a climate-related hazard influences political behavior rather than self-reported attitudes or behavioral intentions. We show that wildfires increased support for costly, climate-related ballot measures by 5 to 6 percentage points for those living within 5 kilometers of a recent wildfire, decaying to near zero beyond a distance of 15 kilometers. This effect is concentrated in Democratic-voting areas, and it is nearly zero in Republican-dominated areas. We conclude that experienced climate threats can enhance willingness-to-act but largely in places where voters are known to believe in climate change.
... Concern about the environment, and more specifically about climate change, has been on the rise for the past decades (Pidgeon 2012;Capstick et al. 2015;Telesiene and Gross 2015), partially linked to people's increasing understanding of climate change and its causes (Wolf and Moser 2011;Drews and van der Bergh 2016;European Commission 2017;Poortinga et al. 2019), as well as experiences with temperature anomalies and extreme weather events (Deryugina 2013;Donner and McDaniels 2013;Bergquist, Nilsson, and Schultz 2019). The more recent upswing in mass climate activism, including the Fridays for Future youth strikes and Extinction Rebellion, may also have played a role in raising public consciousness of the issue (e.g. ...
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There are differences across Europe in elements of climate citizenship, including climate concern, perceived responsibility, and willingness to support and take climate action. This paper examines how individual-level climate perceptions correspond to a country's contribution to climate change and its ability to develop climate policies. Data from the European Social Survey Round 8 (23 European countries, n = 44,387) was used to explore how national-level factors (affluence as per capita GDP, carbon emissions as per capita CO2 emissions, and democracy as electoral democracy index) are related to individual-level climate perceptions (climate concern, perceived climate responsibility, climate policy support, and personal climate action). The analysis shows that the studied individual-level perceptions are all linked, and that perceived climate responsibility is a factor that helps in understanding how individual-level climate views are connected. Further, national-level affluence and democracy are connected to stronger individual-level perceptions both directly and through mediating their connections. Our results suggest that achieving ambitious climate policy targets in Europe could benefit from focusing on the role of perceived climate responsibility in boosting policy support and action. Moreover, the connection between national-level (democratic and economic) factors and public climate perceptions emphasises the need to place climate policies in a wider context.
... The steady build-up of CO 2 in the atmosphere over the last 200 years has led to long-term changes in climate, driven by the greenhouse effect. 1 These changes in climate have led to an increased frequency of severe weather events, such as floods and typhoons. Such events have a severe influence on ecological systems, 2 and have prompted calls for action to reduce atmospheric CO 2 . ...
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The issue of excessive amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere has promoted the study of methods of removing it from the atmosphere. In the field of electrochemistry, electroreduction of CO2 has become an area of significant scientific interest. Our previous work has shown Pt oxide exhibits a higher CO2 electroreduction activity than Pt. In this study, the surface adsorption species on Pt and Pt oxide during electroreduction were investigated with SEIRAS to clarify the mechanisms of the superior electroreduction activity of Pt oxide. The main adsorption species during CO2 electroreduction were methanol and HCOO⁻ on the Pt oxide, and methanol and linear-CO on the Pt. We confirmed that the CO2 electroreduction reaction proceeds via HCOO⁻ on Pt oxide, and through CO on Pt. The CO2 electroreduction activity is significantly affected by the adsorption species because CO strongly adsorbs on the active site and inhibits subsequent reactions. The residual oxygen in the reduced Pt oxide electrode may cause the difference in adsorption species, controlling the reaction pathway. We conclude that the superior CO2 electroreduction activity of Pt oxide is due to the difference in the reaction pathway, possibly caused by residual oxygen and oxygen vacancies in the Pt oxide electrode.
... In contrast, personal exposure to extreme weather events may enhance perceptions of climate change seriousness. Researchers have highlighted relationships between climate change salience and floods (Whitmarsh 2008;Poortinga et al. 2011), extreme temperatures (Joireman et al. 2010Li et al. 2011;Deryugina 2013;Zaval et al. 2014), and unusual precipitation (Egan and Mullin 2012;Goebbert et al. 2012;Borick and Rabe 2014). ...
Article
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In the coming century, average temperatures are predicted to increase by 2.5 to ten degrees Fahrenheit as a result of climate change. Yet citizens around the world vary in their perceptions of how serious the threat of rising temperatures is. I argue that variation in the perceived seriousness of climate change reflects the degree to which individuals internalize the welfare of others in society besides themselves. I describe and two models of “other-regarding” preferences - social welfare maximization and inequity aversion - and test their predictions using data from the World Values Survey. I employ genetic matching and a difference-in-difference design in order to mitigate potential endogeneity. I also explore behavioral implications of the theory using original data on climate change-related web searches. The empirical tests support the argument: individuals who exhibit high levels of other-regarding preferences are more likely to express serious concern - and seek out new information - about global warming.
... Some scholars find that climate concerns modestly increase with experienced temperature extremes (Brooks et al. 2014;Bergquist and Warshaw 2019). Others find no effects (Brulle, Carmichael, and Jenkins 2012;Mildenberger and Leiserowitz 2017), only ephemeral effects (Egan and Mullin 2012;Deryugina 2013;Konisky, Hughes, and Kaylor 2016), or that effects are limited to particular political subgroups (Hamilton and Stampone 2013). Evidence for the relationship between climate-related hazards and reported attitudes is similarly mixed. ...
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One political barrier to climate reforms is the temporal mismatch between short-term policy costs and long-term policy benefits. Will public support for climate reforms increase as climate-related disasters make the short-term costs of inaction more salient? Leveraging variation in the timing of Californian wildfires, we evaluate how exposure to a climate-related hazard influences political behavior, rather than self-reported attitudes or behavioral intentions. We show that wildfires increased support for costly, climate-related ballot measures by 5 to 6 percentage points for those living within 5km of a recent wildfire, decaying to near zero beyond a distance of 15km. This effect is concentrated in Democratic-voting areas, and nearly zero in Republican-dominated areas. We conclude that experienced climate threats can enhance willingness-to-act but largely in places where voters are known to believe in climate change.
... The economics literature therefore focuses on understanding the causal pathways that determine beliefs. For instance, previous studies have shown that beliefs and concern about climate change are affected by external factors such as weather (Deryugina 2013;Herrnstadt and Muehlegger 2014), economic conditions (Kahn and Kotchen 2011), information on the scientific consensus (Deryugina and Shurchkov 2016) and media coverage (Beattie 2017). These add to a body of evidence from social science linking beliefs about climate change to individual characteristics such as political identity (McCright and Dunlap 2011), scientific literacy (Kahan et al. 2012) and gender (Dastrup et al. 2012;McCright 2010). ...
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Biased beliefs about climate change may lead to under-regulation of emissions. We study a new channel by which the public form beliefs about climate change: visible mitigation actions. By exploiting the rapid growth of rooftop solar panels, a large survey, and differences in incentives to install solar, we find that visible mitigation actions have a positive impact on belief in basic climate science. However, we also find that higher solar penetration reduces concern about the impacts of climate change, which may dampen demand for additional mitigation policy and individual abatement effort. Our results suggest that government policies that incentivize technology adoption can have subtle but important spillover effects on beliefs and other behaviors.
... Cela a par exemple été constaté pour le changement climatique. De fait, des études sur la perception dans différents pays ont montré que les personnes sont plus préoccupées par le changement climatique durant les jours où la température locale est anormalement élevée (Deryugina 2013;Krosnick, Holbrook, et Lowe 2006;…). La mémoire à long terme stocke les savoirs sous forme de connaissances descriptives, de règles et de schémas. ...
Thesis
La sensibilisation du Grand Public aux risques majeurs est un enjeu actuel de leur prévention et se fonde notamment sur la communication d'informations préventives. En France, cette communication est une obligation réglementaire. On peut alors s'interroger sur son efficacité et sur la façon dont son contenu et sa forme sont appréhendés par la population. Dans cette thèse, des approches contribuant à l'évaluation de l'efficacité des documents de communication préventive sur les risques sont proposées avec une application au DICRIM (Document d'Information Communal sur les Risques Majeurs). Elles croisent des méthodes à l'interface entre Sciences Pour l'Ingénieur (méthode de la sûreté de fonctionnement), Sciences cognitives (modélisation de connaissances) et Sciences Humaines et Sociales (interviews et analyse de discours). Les développements portent sur : -Un modèle d'évaluation de la conformité du contenu d'un DICRIM donné en regard de la loi. -Des éléments de représentations cognitives d'élus et d'habitants vis-à-vis du DICRIM et des risques majeurs en général. -Une production d'indicateurs de performance et d'un modèle d'évaluation de la performance d'un DICRIM. Des validations des modèles ont été réalisées sur des cas réels. Les modèles proposent également des rétroactions afin d'améliorer l'efficacité du document si nécessaire, en fonction des notes obtenues à l'aide des indicateurs. Les modèles d'aide à la décision peuvent être utilisés par les municipalités ou les bureaux d'études spécialisés sur tout DICRIM existant ou en création. Leur utilisation ne nécessite pas la mise en oeuvre de moyens particuliers. Par ailleurs, les modèles possèdent des composantes génériques applicables à d'autres types d'outils de communication sur les risques.
... Moore (2017) does not deal with skeptics per se, but characterizes learning about climate as a (potentially) Bayesian process where individuals make inferences based on local weather shocks. This builds off of earlier work by Deryugina (2013), who finds that longer spells of abnormal local weather patterns are consistent with Bayesian updating about climate beliefs. ...
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How much evidence would it take to convince climate skeptics that they are wrong? I explore this question within an empirical Bayesian framework. I consider a group of stylized skeptics and examine how these individuals rationally update their beliefs in the face of ongoing climate change. I find that available evidence in the form of instrumental climate data tends to overwhelm all but the most extreme priors. Most skeptics form updated beliefs about climate sensitivity that correspond closely to estimates from the scientific literature. However, belief convergence is a nonlinear function of prior strength and it becomes increasingly difficult to convince the remaining pool of dissenters. I discuss the necessary conditions for consensus formation under Bayesian learning and show that apparent deviations from the Bayesian ideal can still be accommodated within the same conceptual framework. I argue that a generalized Bayesian model provides a bridge between competing theories of climate skepticism as a social phenomenon.
... On the one hand, extreme conditions exert an influence only if they are experienced for a sufficient length of time, representing a hurdle in the translation of experiences into concerns and ultimately into action. Once the hurdle is crossed (approximately after 12 months), more distant climate events tend to influence concerns and voting less strongly possibly due to the experiences becoming less salient (see ref. 31 for similar findings). For example, heat episodes that occurred in the past 12 months (Supplementary Table 23 ...
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Public support is fundamental in scaling up actions to limit global warming. Here, we analyse how the experience of climate extremes influences people’s environmental attitudes and willingness to vote for Green parties in Europe. To this end, we combined high-resolution climatological data with regionally aggregated, harmonized Eurobarometer data (34 countries) and European Parliamentary electoral data (28 countries). Our findings show a significant and sizeable effect of temperature anomalies, heat episodes and dry spells on environmental concern and voting for Green parties. The magnitude of the climate effect differs substantially across European regions. It is stronger in regions with a cooler Continental or temperate Atlantic climate and weaker in regions with a warmer Mediterranean climate. The relationships are moderated by regional income level suggesting that climate change experiences increase public support for climate action but only under favourable economic conditions. The findings have important implications for the current efforts to promote climate action in line with the Paris Agreement. Exposure to extreme weather events could increase environmental concerns and support for Green parties. With high-resolution data across European countries, the authors demonstrate the existence of such effect, then further discuss the heterogeneity and possible mechanisms.
... This paper contributes to the literature on expectation formation, learning, and adjustment after rare events. There is evidence that perceived weather risk responds to weather extremes (Deryugina 2013;Cameron and Shah 2015;Konisky et al. 2016), increases insurance demand (Gallagher 2014), is capitalized in house prices after disasters (Atreya and Ferreira 2015;Bin and Landry 2013;Kousky 2010) or flood-zone updates (Hino and Burke 2021;Indaco et al. 2019), and can lead to relocations (Baker et al. 2009;Boustan et al. 2020;Kocornik-Mina et al. 2020;Röckert and Kraehnert 2021). As reviewed above, there is very limited evidence of information-driven environmental migration in developed countries but even for developing countries the evidence is mixed (Berlemann and Steinhardt 2017). ...
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I provide new evidence about the information content of weather shocks in the US coastal states, based on substantial hurricane impacts, with a quasi-experimental research design that matches counties by risk, size, and income. I examine if hurricanes represent “new news” in counties with no prior hurricanes and if expectations updating is reflected in population and house price growth. I develop a measure reflecting homeowners’ flood risk expectation based on flood insurance deductible data, which assumes that higher deductibles reveal lower flood expectations. I find that population growth declines more in counties without previous hurricanes and that this is driven by areas with lower flood-risk priors, consistent with updating when the hurricane is more likely to be “new news”. This is supported by within-county evidence that directly controls for hurricane losses and residents’ priors. I find that information updating actually increases house price growth in impacted counties with no previous hurricanes.
... Studies in the US and Australia found that people report greater climate change concerns on days with abnormal temperatures (Brooks et al. 2014;Li et al. 2011). Public climate change concerns fluctuate with local temperature changes (Deryugina 2013;Egan and Mullin 2012;Hamilton and Stampone 2013) and with average nation-wide temperatures (Donner and McDaniels 2013). A meta-analysis of 31 studies published since 2006 found that climate change concerns increased by 1.2% with a + 1C degree rise in local temperatures, and effects were stronger when hot weather persisted (Sugerman et al. 2021). ...
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Global climate action will likely be motivated by public concerns about climate change and severe weather, to the extent that they are different. Public perception researchers have been debating whether or not people conflate climate and weather. If climate change concerns and severe weather concerns are different, then they should be formed in different ways. Here, we compare how climate change concerns and severe weather concerns around the world are correlated with key predictors of risk concerns: (1) higher education, which facilitates risk understanding, and (2) experiences and perceptions of severe weather, which increase feelings of concern. We analyze data from the 2019 Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll, which was conducted in 142 countries. We find that people who have a college or high-school degree (vs. at most completed elementary school) are more concerned about climate change, but education is unrelated to severe weather concerns. People with experiences and perceptions of severe weather events are more likely to report climate change concerns and severe weather concerns, but the relationships with severe weather concerns are stronger. Thus, climate change concerns and severe weather concerns seem to be formed differently. Findings hold when controlling for household income, other individual characteristics, and country characteristics. They also hold in separate analyses for each World Bank country-income category and continent. These findings suggest that climate change communications should aim to be understandable to audiences at all educational levels and facilitate connections to personal experiences and perceptions of severe weather to climate change.
... Findings indicated that sociopolitical and demographic factors had a clear impact on climate change beliefs, although this may be at least partially explained by differences in experiences people have with extreme weather events (e.g., flooding and droughts), and how vulnerable countries can be to the impacts of climate change (Brody et al., 2008;Spence et al., 2011;Deryugina, 2013;Demski et al., 2017). In addition to crosscultural differences that may shape public perceptions of climate change, the differences in the ways that countries have experienced the global pandemic could influence perceptions of climate change and potential actions considered to mitigate it. ...
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Behavioural scientists have been studying public perceptions to understand how and why people behave the way they do towards climate change. In recent times, enormous changes to behaviour and people’s interactions have been brought about by the worldwide coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, unexpectedly and indefinitely; some of which have environmental implications (e.g., travelling less). An innovative way to analyse public perceptions and behaviour is with the use of social media to understand the discourse around climate change. This paper focuses on assessing changes in social media discourse around actions for climate change mitigation over time during the global pandemic. Twitter data were collected at three different points during the pandemic: February (time 1), June (time 2), and October 2020 (time 3). By using machine learning techniques, including recurrent neural networks (RNN) and unsupervised learning Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) topic modelling, we identified tweets mentioning actions to mitigate climate change. The findings identified topics related to “ government actions ,” “environmental behaviours ,” “ sustainable production ,” and “ awareness ,” among others. We found an increase in tweets identified as “action tweets” relating to climate change for time 2 and time 3 compared with time 1. In addition, we found that the topic of energy seemed to be of relevance within the public’s perceptions of actions for climate change mitigation; this did not seem to change over time. We found that the topic of “ government actions ” was present across all time points and may have been influenced by political events at time 1, and by COVID-19 discourse at times 2 and 3. Moreover, topic changes over time within Twitter indicated a pattern that may have reflected restrictions on mobility as these tended to focus on individual and private sphere behaviours rather than group and public sphere behaviours. Changes in topic patterns may also reflect an increase in salience of certain behaviours (e.g., shopping), which may have received increased attention due to lockdown restrictions. Considering restrictions and adaptability challenges people face in times of a global pandemic may help to identify how to support sustainable behaviour change and the likely persistence of these changes.
... Understanding the drivers of changes in public concern and support for Green parties is important to identify the mechanisms underlying transformations towards a greener economy and more sustainable society. Previous studies showed that experiences of extreme climate events and changes are positively associated with climate change belief and environmental concern (Deryugina, 2013;Howe et al., 2013;Bohr, 2017;Joireman et al., 2010;Konisky et al., 2016;Sisco et al., 2017;van der Linden, 2015;Arıkan and Günay, 2021;Kvaloy et al., 2012;Lorenzoni and Pidgeon, 2006). However, the overall size of the reported effects is rather small and depends on local conditions as found in a recent meta-analysis and systematic review of the literature (Hornsey et al., 2016;Howe et al., 2019). ...
... Some research suggests that it is the subjective experience of extreme weather events that is impactful rather than the objective experience (Albright and Crow, 2019;Marlon et al., 2019;van der Linden, 2015). Others found that it was long-term trendsnot shortterm weather cuesthat had a significant impact on climate change beliefs (Deryugina, 2013;Shao et al., 2014). Furthermore, many documented effects of external weather events appeared to be detectable only among political liberals who are already prepared to believe that climate change is real (Boudet et al., 2020;Ogunbode et al., 2017;Zanocco et al. 2018). ...
Article
Identifying historical patterns of fluctuation in climate change skepticism guides researchers, policy makers, and science communicators in efforts to catalyze change in the future. We analyzed data from 25 nationally representative polls collected in Australia from 2009 to 2019 (N = 20,655). Although it remains concerningly high, climate skepticism trended down in that 10-year period, particularly among conservatives. Multilevel analyses identified two variables that stood out as being relevant in explaining that trajectory. First, climate change skepticism was positively associated with support for conservative political parties in national polls. Second, climate change skepticism was negatively associated with the annual global temperatures the previous year. There was little evidence that climate change beliefs were associated with economic variables or with seasonal variations in temperature. Furthermore, there was only weak evidence that climate change beliefs were associated with national temperatures. This suggests that global temperatures in the previous year are impactful because of their informational value (as a communication heuristic for the urgency and immediacy of climate change) more so than for their experiential value (in the sense of people actually experiencing warmer weather). Importantly, the effect of previous global temperature was particularly pronounced among those with the strongest levels of skepticism: political conservatives. This suggests that rising global annual temperatures have the power to update beliefs among those most in need of converting to the climate cause.
... However, conflicting results have been found in the empirical literature on this issue. Some papers, especially focusing on the USA, highlight that only fluctuations in temperature induce higher salience in climate change in the long run (Deryugina, 2013) and that they do not have any effects on climate change awareness (Carmicheal and Brulle, 2016). Konisky et al. (2016) consider micro-level geospatial data on extreme weather events from NOAA's Storm Events Database, and analyse extreme weather events that are predicted to increase in frequency and severity because of climate change, such as warmer temperatures, more heat waves and drought, higher rainfall, more serious tropical storms, and rise in sea-level (IPCC, 2013). ...
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To answer this question, this paper reviews the huge and growing body of empirical literature on climate change awareness, and summarizes insights emerging from a critical review of about 140 papers. In particular, this survey provides (i) a historical overview of climate change awareness worldwide, (ii) a guide to the most widely used datasets, with a peculiar attention to the question wording employed to measuring climate change awareness when the analysis is performed at individual level; (iii) a detailed review of the main socioeconomic and climatological determinants of climate change awareness, such as age, gender, education, political values, experience of extreme weather conditions, social and institutional trust and the stage of development of the country where people live; and (iv) a summary of the main implications of these findings in terms of public policy responses.
... Expectations regarding future climate drive private adaptation and mitigation (Arbuckle et al. 2013;Vainino and Paloniemi 2013) as well as support for public action (Bernauer 2013;Stehr 2015;Drews and Van den Bergh 2016). These expectations are rooted in personal characteristics and social identity (Hornsey et al. 2016), but personal experience also strongly influences belief (Borick and Rabe 2010;Deryugina 2013;Demski et al. 2017). In this paper, we use panel data from a national survey of thousands of farmers and other rural decision makers to analyse belief updating in the context of fluctuations in soil moisture, an important indicator for farm planning, over a 2-year period. ...
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The literature on belief regarding climate is extensive, with results showing that both personal characteristics and personal experience with the effects of climate change strongly influence future expectations. The vast majority of studies rely on cross-sectional data, making it difficult to ascertain the durability of expectations regarding future climate or the effect of additional environmental cues on beliefs. A few panel studies of which we are aware exploit extreme weather events to find evidence of “confirmation bias”, in which additional environmental signalling reinforces existing beliefs. In contrast, we evaluate how normal fluctuations in soil moisture causally impact expectations of future drought using a panel of New Zealand farmers. We find that environmental cues such as soil moisture scarcely affect expectations of respondents who already expected future drought to increase but that soil moisture strongly influences respondents who did not. In particular, drier soils are associated with higher expectations of future drought among these former sceptics, whether they previously believed that future drought would decrease or simply would not change. Thus, as New Zealand moves toward IPCC forecasts of more frequent and more severe drought, farmers, foresters, and growers will increasingly agree with the scientific consensus, raising the likelihood of both farm-level and public action.
... It has been hypothesized that this emerging signal of climate change in people's everyday experience of weather might lead to widespread acknowledgement of the existence of global warming and possibly, by extension, support for mitigation policy 43 . A large number of studies have connected stated belief in global warming with local temperature anomalies: people appear to be able to identify local warming 44,45 and are more likely to report believing in climate change if the weather is (or is perceived to be) unusually warm [46][47][48][49] . In effect, people appear to be using their personal experience of weather as evidence informing their belief in climate change 49 . ...
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The ambition and effectiveness of climate policies will be essential in determining greenhouse gas emissions and, as a consequence, the scale of climate change impacts1,2. However, the socio-politico-technical processes that will determine climate policy and emissions trajectories are treated as exogenous in almost all climate change modelling3,4. Here we identify relevant feedback processes documented across a range of disciplines and connect them in a stylized model of the climate–social system. An analysis of model behaviour reveals the potential for nonlinearities and tipping points that are particularly associated with connections across the individual, community, national and global scales represented. These connections can be decisive for determining policy and emissions outcomes. After partly constraining the model parameter space using observations, we simulate 100,000 possible future policy and emissions trajectories. These fall into 5 clusters with warming in 2100 ranging between 1.8 °C and 3.6 °C above the 1880–1910 average. Public perceptions of climate change, the future cost and effectiveness of mitigation technologies, and the responsiveness of political institutions emerge as important in explaining variation in emissions pathways and therefore the constraints on warming over the twenty-first century. A stylized model of the climate–social system could help to understand policy and emissions futures.
Article
This paper tackles whether it is possible to identify cognitive biases that foster environmental concern among public opinion. In particular, the study focuses on the mere exposure effect. Regression analysis was conducted on data concerning Spain and Italy to test the hypotheses that (1) exposing individuals to proenvironmental stimuli in the form of physical natural environments or recycling policies and (2) belonging to younger generations today is associated with a greater extent of environmental concern. The results confirmed both the hypotheses, suggesting environmental policies that affect individuals in their everyday lives, besides being beneficial for the environment, make the public opinion more conscious about the issue
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This article looks into the complex structure of factors which determine public risk perceptions of climate change, combining individual level indicators (related to social structures) and macro level indicators (at country level) related to countries’ exposures to natural hazards and national political contexts. The article employs survey data from the 2017 Special Eurobarometer 459 (87.1) and country-level statistical data on political contexts and climate-related hazards. Multilevel mixed-effects linear regressions were applied. The results of the research indicate that few macro level variables related to natural hazards can significantly explain climate change risk perceptions (like temperature increases or water deficit), and political contexts at the macro level do not significantly explain the variance in the levels of concern about climate change. However, individual level variables (education and political orientation) significantly mediate how natural hazards and political contexts influence climate change risk perception. People with higher education levels have higher concerns about climate change in countries that are more vulnerable to floods and droughts, and left-leaning voters in countries with higher democracy indices and better climate policies demonstrate higher levels of climate change risk perception. Scientific literacy is an important factor in shaping public opinions and concerns about climate change, particularly with regard to the complex understanding of natural factors of climate change; having a clear political orientation helps people to reflect on the national political contexts of climate change.
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A growing empirical literature associates climate anomalies with increased risk of violent conflict. This association has been portrayed as a bellwether of future societal instability as the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events are predicted to increase. This paper investigates the theoretical foundation of this claim. A seminal microeconomic model of opportunity costs—a mechanism often thought to drive climate–conflict relationships—is extended by considering realistic changes in the distribution of climate-dependent agricultural income. Results advise caution in using empirical associations between short-run climate anomalies and conflicts to predict the effect of sustained shifts in climate regimes: Although war occurs in bad years, conflict may decrease if agents expect more frequent bad years. Theory suggests a nonmonotonic relation between climate variability and conflict that emerges as agents adapt and adjust their behavior to the new income distribution. We identify 3 measurable statistics of the income distribution that are each unambiguously associated with conflict likelihood. Jointly, these statistics offer a unique signature to distinguish opportunity costs from competing mechanisms that may relate climate anomalies to conflict.
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A rapidly growing number of TV weathercasters are reporting on the local implications of climate change, although little is known about the effectiveness of such communication. To test the impact of localized climate reporting, we conducted an internet-based randomized controlled experiment in which local TV news viewers (n = 1,200) from two American cities (Chicago and Miami) watched either three localized climate reports or three standard weather reports featuring a prominent TV weathercaster from their city; each of the videos was between 1 and 2 min in duration. Participants’ understanding of climate change as real, human-caused, and locally relevant was assessed with a battery of questions after watching the set of three videos. Compared to participants who watched weather reports, participants who watched climate reports became significantly more likely to 1) understand that climate change is happening, is human-caused, and is causing harm in their community; 2) feel that climate change is personally relevant and express greater concern about it; and 3) feel that they understand how climate change works and express greater interest in learning more about it. In short, our findings demonstrate that watching even a brief amount of localized climate reporting (less than 6 min) delivered by TV weathercasters helps viewers develop a more accurate understanding of global climate change as a locally and personally relevant problem, and offer strong support for this promising approach to promoting enhanced public understanding of climate change through public media.
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Environmental awareness campaigns disseminate information about the state of the natural environment, aiming to affect public attitudes and encourage pro-environmental behavior. I test the influence of awareness days on the general public's environmental and climate change attitudes and concern, focusing on the case of the Earth Hour, an international campaign organized annually by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The Earth Hour highlights environmental consequences of human activity and encourages sustainable behavior, culminating with a call to mass action. To assess the Earth Hour's effect, I use longitudinal data from Germany and the UK, exploiting the orthogonality of the Earth Hour observance to the timing of data collection, to estimate models comparing individual attitudes and concern before and after the event. I find no evidence of an Earth Hour effect on environmental and climate change attitudes and concern. Results suggest that more research is needed to assess the influence of environmental advocacy campaigns and awareness days on the general public.
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This paper studies how extreme weather and natural disasters affect campaign contributions and elections. Weather events associated with climate change may influence these outcomes by leading voters to re-evaluate the incumbent politician’s environmental position. In a short-run analysis, we find that the number of online contributions to the Democratic Party increases in response to higher weekly temperature, with a larger effect in counties with more anti-environment incumbent politicians. In a medium-run analysis, we find that, when a natural disaster strikes, the election becomes more competitive if the incumbent leans more anti-environment: total campaign contributions increase for both candidates and the increase is skewed towards the challenger, the race is more likely to be contested, and the incumbent is less likely to be re-elected. These results suggest that extreme weather events carry a moderate electoral penalty for anti-environment incumbents during 1990–2012. This mechanism will likely play a more important role as the public awareness of climate change continues to increase.
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Growing climate threats require adequate action from the world community and individual countries. Therefore, today it is extremely important for international and national sustainable development policies to obtain reliable data on the attitude of the public in different countries to the issue of climate change. An increase in the level of awareness of the world's population regarding climate change may be used as a reliable indicator of this issue. A promising tool for studying it is the Google Trends search query counting service. The article presents a comparative analysis of interest in climate change in the cities of the world and actual climate variability in these cities. To illustrate the processes of climate change, the temperature variability ratings for the largest cities of the world and Russia for a period of 36 years between 1980 are 2016 are given. It is shown that for Russia, climate problems become more urgent with the occurrence of significant negative consequences. Climate issues are becoming more important for Russia, but the awareness of significant negative consequences is negligible. As a result, there is a low correlation between global search and temperature trends.
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I show that climate skepticism increases with negative economic shocks and that the effects are concentrated among individuals in the labor force. I primarily employ a panel of US individuals in the period following the Great Recession, but also find consistent results with an alternative instrumental variables strategy. Among labor force participants, a one-percentage point increase in the local unemployment rate leads to a three to five percentage point decrease in the probability of believing climate change is real and requires action. I conclude that support for climate change policies could depend on labor market conditions.
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Across the globe, extreme weather events have brought climate change into people’s daily lives. Extended heatwaves, droughts, and wildfires are now recurring in many regions across the globe. This paper asks how the exceptional 2018 summer influenced climate change beliefs among Swedish citizens. More specifically, the study looks deeper into belief formation dynamics under intense, consonant, and extended news reporting – addressing one of the most fundamental media effects in the literature: the over-time maintenance of societal beliefs through cumulative and repetitive exposure to a dominant issue frame. Using a unique three-wave panel survey, the analysis focuses on citizens’ acceptance (and resistance) of the dominant climate change frame provided by traditional media – whether citizens believe in the existence, causes, and consequences of climate change. The findings reveal strong support for belief maintenance effects over time, but also that belief changes are possible. Even in situations of intense and consonant news reporting, acceptance (and resistance) of the dominant climate change frame depends on citizens’ personal media orientations. Both trust in traditional news media and usage of alternative online news emerge as key factors conditioning classic media effects in a fragmented and polarized media environment.
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Understanding public perceptions of sea level rise (SLR) is essential for effective risk communication in coastal areas. Using cross-sectional data from a representative survey of 1042 Louisiana residents, we measured the role of sociodemographic factors (age, gender, education, income, race, and political affiliation), contextual factors (distance to coast, geographic vulnerability, perceived extreme weather, home ownership, and presence of children in the household), media measures (local television, local newspaper, and satisfaction with media coverage), and perceived causes of coastal land loss (natural erosion from waves, hurricane activity, oil and gas industry activity, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers activity) on SLR risk salience. Ordinal logistic analysis showed perceived extreme weather and geographic vulnerability to be strong and positive predictors of SLR risk salience. Implications for risk communication are discussed.
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We draw from research that finds local weather conditions affect individuals’ belief-formation process and asset prices to investigate whether “extreme” local temperatures impact individuals’ beliefs about U.S. economic conditions (i.e., economic sentiment) and the stock returns of local firms. We combine Gallup’s U.S. Daily Poll, which provides the daily-level economic sentiment of a population-representative random sample of 1.5 million individuals, with daily weather conditions based on survey respondent location. We document that extreme local temperatures decrease individuals’ sentiment about the U.S. economy and that this decrease relates to declines in the stock returns of local firms. Further tests distinguish this extreme local temperature-sentiment effect from the effect of perceived life satisfaction on individuals’ economic sentiment, suggesting that the potential effect of extreme temperatures on individuals’ moods is not driving our results. We conclude that extreme local temperatures affect individuals’ sentiment about economic activity beyond the potential effect of temperature on firm- or local-level economic variables, with implications for stock returns.
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In a series of studies employing a variety of approaches, we have found that the potential impact of climate change on US agriculture is likely negative. Deschênes and Greenstone (2007) report dramatically different results based on regressions of agricultural profits and yields on weather variables. The divergence is explained by (1) missing and incorrect weather and climate data in their study; (2) their use of older climate change projections rather than the more recent and less optimistic projections from the Fourth Assessment Report; and (3) difficulties in their profit measure due to the confounding effects of storage.
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This paper explores a heuristic-representativeness-according to which the subjective probability of an event, or a sample, is determined by the degree to which it: (i) is similar in essential characteristics to its parent population; and (ii) reflects the salient features of the process by which it is generated. This heuristic is explicated in a series of empirical examples demonstrating predictable and systematic errors in the evaluation of un- certain events. In particular, since sample size does not represent any property of the population, it is expected to have little or no effect on judgment of likelihood. This prediction is confirmed in studies showing that subjective sampling distributions and posterior probability judgments are determined by the most salient characteristic of the sample (e.g., proportion, mean) without regard to the size of the sample. The present heuristic approach is contrasted with the normative (Bayesian) approach to the analysis of the judgment of uncertainty.
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Self-reports of behaviors and attitudes are strongly influenced by features of the research instrument, including question wording, format, and context. Recent research has addressed the underlying cognitive and communicative processes, which are systematic and increasingly well-understood. The author reviews what has been learned, focusing on issues of question comprehension, behavioral frequency reports, and the emergence of context effect in attitude measurement. The accumulating knowledge about the processes underlying self-reports promises to improve the questionnaire design and data quality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Climate science as we know it today did not exist in the 1960s and 1970s. The integrated enterprise embodied in the Nobel Prizewinning work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change existed then as separate threads of research pursued by isolated groups of scientists. Atmospheric chemists and modelers grappled with the measurement of changes in carbon dioxide and atmospheric gases, and the changes in climate that might result. Meanwhile, geologists and paleoclimate researchers tried to understand when Earth slipped into and out of ice ages, and why. An enduring popular myth suggests that in the 1970s the climate science community was predicting "global cooling" and an "imminent" ice age, an observation frequently used by those who would undermine what climate scientists say today about the prospect of global warming. A review of the literature suggests that, on the contrary, greenhouse warming even then dominated scientists' thinking as being one of the most important forces shaping Earth's climate on human time scales. More importantly than showing the falsehood of the myth, this review describes how scientists of the time built the foundation on which the cohesive enterprise of modern climate science now rests.
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The effect of criminal experience on risk perceptions is of central importance to deterrence theory but has been vastly understudied. This article develops a realistic Bayesian learning model of how individuals will update their risk perceptions over time in response to the signals they receive during their offending experiences. This model implies a simple function that we estimate to determine the deterrent effect of an arrest. We find that an individual who commits one crime and is arrested will increase his or her perceived probability of being caught by 6.3 percent compared with if he or she had not been arrested. We also find evidence that the more informative the signal received by an individual is, the more he or she will respond to it, which is consistent with more experienced offenders responding less to an arrest than less experienced offenders do. Parsing our results out by type of crime indicates that an individual who is arrested for an aggressive crime will increase both his or her aggressive crime risk perception as well as his or her income-generating crime risk perception, although the magnitude of the former may be slightly larger. This implies that risk perception updating, and thus potentially deterrence, may be partially, although not completely, crime specific.
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This paper investigates how college students update their future earnings beliefs using a unique 'information' experiment: We provide college students true information about the population distribution of earnings, and observe how this information causes them to update their future earnings beliefs. We show that college students are substantially misinformed about population earnings, logically revise their self earnings beliefs, and have larger revisions when the information is more specific and is 'good' news. We classify the updating behaviors observed and find that the majority of students are non-Bayesian updaters. While the average welfare gains from our information provision are positive, we show that counterfactually imposing Bayesian processing of information vastly overestimates the gains from the intervention. Finally, we present evidence that our intervention has long-lasting effects on students' earnings beliefs.
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Previous empirical studies of information cascades use either naturally occurring data or laboratory experiments. We combine attractive elements from each of these lines of research by observing market professionals from the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) in a controlled environment. Analysis of over 1,500 individual decisions suggests that CBOT professionals behave differently from our student control group. For instance, professionals are better able to discern the quality of public signals and their decisions are not affected by the domain of earnings. These results have implications for market efficiency and are important in both a positive and normative sense.
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The "gambler's fallacy" is the belief that the probability of an event is lowered when that event has recently occurred, even though the probability of the event is objectively known to be independent from one trial to the next. This paper provides evidence on the time pattern of lottery participation to see whether actual behavior is consistent with this fallacy. Using data from the Maryland daily numbers game, we find a clear and consistent tendency for the amount of money bet on a particular number to fall sharply immediately after it is drawn, and then gradually to recover to its former level over the course of several months. This pattern is consistent with the hypothesis that lottery players are in fact subject to the gambler's fallacy.
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Past research has proposed various macrolevel theories of issue definition and agenda setting. However, we propose a microlevel theory of issue definition rooted in how individuals process information. We theorize that people process information about policy issues through a filter that emphasizes past assessments, ideology, background, social cues, and the continuing intrusion of new information. Most of these factors lead individual issue definitions toward stability. However, the introduction of an information signal of appropriate magnitude and character can produce punctuations in issue definition by individuals through time. Since the macrolevel definition of an issue is a type of aggregation of individual definitions, understanding how individuals define issues becomes a precursor to understanding issue definition at the system level. In evaluating the theory, we develop and evaluate a survey to study the issue definition process for individuals across multiple issues, and for global warming specifically. The survey also includes two embedded experiments to demonstrate the potential for punctuation in the issue-definition process for individuals and the system.
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Studies have found that people are overconfident in estimation involving difficult tasks but underconfident in easy tasks. Conversely, they are overconfident in placing themselves in easy tasks but underconfident in hard tasks. These findings can be explained by a regression hypothesis that implies random errors in estimation as well as by rational Bayesian updating (that implies no random error). We test these hypotheses in five experiments. We find overconfidence in estimation involving hard tasks but underconfidence in easy tasks. However, for placement (involving both easy and hard tasks) we find no overconfidence, regression effects due to low and high anchor points, and extreme underconfidence when people choose between multiple alternatives. On the other hand, when given precise information about absolute performance, people’s re-assessments of relative performance are consistent with the Bayesian model. Since placement judgments are important in many competitive settings, our results emphasize the need for more research to identify their determinants.
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It is generally acknowledged that global warming is occurring, yet estimates of future climate change vary widely. Given this uncertainty, when asked about climate change, it is likely that people’s judgments may be affected by heuristics and accessible schemas. Three studies evaluated this proposition. Study 1 revealed a significant positive correlation between the outdoor temperature and beliefs in global warming. Study 2 showed that people were more likely to believe in global warming when they had first been primed with heat-related cognitions. Study 3 demonstrated that people were more likely to believe in global warming and more willing to pay to reduce global warming when they had first been exposed to a high vs. a low anchor for future increases in temperature. Together, results reveal that beliefs about global warming (and willingness to take actions to reduce global warming) are influenced by heuristics and accessible schemas. Several practical implications are discussed.
Chapter
This article described three heuristics that are employed in making judgements under uncertainty: (i) representativeness, which is usually employed when people are asked to judge the probability that an object or event A belongs to class or process B; (ii) availability of instances or scenarios, which is often employed when people are asked to assess the frequency of a class or the plausibility of a particular development; and (iii) adjustment from an anchor, which is usually employed in numerical prediction when a relevant value is available. These heuristics are highly economical and usually effective, but they lead to systematic and predictable errors. A better understanding of these heuristics and of the biases to which they lead could improve judgements and decisions in situations of uncertainty.
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Numerous behavioral models assume individuals combine knowledge in the form of a prior distribution with current sample information using Bayesian updating to estimate the quality of environmental parameters. I examine this assumption by reviewing 11 empirical studies. Six studies compared observed behavior to predictions of Bayesian and non-Bayesian models, while five studies manipulated prior distributions directly and observed how such manipulations altered behavior. Eight species of birds, three mammals, one fish and one insect exhibited behavior consistent with Bayesian updating models; one studied bird species failed to show evidence of Bayesian updating. Most studies examined how individuals estimated food patch quality but two investigated mating decisions. These studies suggest a variety of animals in different ecological contexts behave in manners consistent with predictions of Bayesian updating models. Future work on decision-making should focus on understanding how animals learn prior distributions and on decision-making in additional ecological contexts.
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This paper analyzes the trading records of a major discount brokerage house to investigate the disposition effect, the tendency to sell stocks that have appreciated in price (winners) sooner than stocks that trade below the purchase price (losers). In contrast to previous research that has demonstrated the disposition effect by aggregating across investors, our main objective is to identify differences in the disposition bias across individuals and explain this in terms of underlying investor characteristics. Building on the findings in experimental economics and social psychology, we hypothesize that differences in investor literacy about financial markets and trading frequency are responsible in part for the variation in individual disposition effect. Using demographic and socioeconomic variables as proxies for investor literacy, we find empirical evidence that wealthier individuals and individuals employed in professional occupations exhibit a lower disposition effect. Consistent with experimental economics, trading frequency also tends to reduce the disposition effect. We provide guidelines for investment advisors, regulators, and investment communities to utilize our findings and help investors make better decisions.
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This paper explores a judgmental heuristic in which a person evaluates the frequency of classes or the probability of events by availability, i.e., by the ease with which relevant instances come to mind. In general, availability is correlated with ecological frequency, but it is also affected by other factors. Consequently, the reliance on the availability heuristic leads to systematic biases. Such biases are demonstrated in the judged frequency of classes of words, of combinatorial outcomes, and of repeated events. The phenomenon of illusory correlation is explained as an availability bias. The effects of the availability of incidents and scenarios on subjective probability are discussed.
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We propose that visceral states can influence beliefs through "visceral fit": People will judge states of the world associated with their current visceral experience as more likely. We found that warmth influenced belief in global warming (Studies 1-3) and that thirst impacted forecasts of drought and desertification (Study 5). These effects emerged in a naturalistic setting (Study 1) and in experimental lab settings (Studies 2, 3, and 5). Studies 2-6 distinguished between 3 mechanistic accounts: temperature as information (Studies 2 and 3), conceptual accessibility (Studies 4 and 5), and fluency of simulation (Studies 6a and 6b). Studies 2 and 3 ruled out the temperature as information account. Feeling warm enhanced belief in global warming even when temperature was manipulated in an uninformative indoor setting, when participants' attention was first directed to the indoor temperature, and when participants' belief about the current outdoor temperature was statistically controlled. Studies 4 and 5 ruled out conceptual accessibility as the key mediator: Priming the corresponding concepts did not produce analogous effects on judgment. Studies 6a and 6b used a causal chain design and found support for a "simulational fluency" account. Participants experiencing the visceral state of warmth constructed more fluent mental representations of hot (vs. cold) outdoor images, and those who were led to construe the same hot outdoor images more fluently believed more in global warming. Together, the results suggest that visceral states can influence one's beliefs by making matching states of the world easier to simulate and therefore seem more likely.
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This paper measures the economic impact of climate change on US agricultural land by estimating the effect of the presumably random year-to-year variation in temperature and precipitation on agricultural profits. Using long-run climate change predictions from the Hadley 2 Model, the preferred estimates indicate that climate change will lead to a $1.1 billion (2002$) or 3.4% increase in annual profits. The 95% confidence interval ranges from -$1.8 billion to $4.0 billion and the impact is robust to a wide variety of specification checks, so large negative or positive effects are unlikely. There is considerable heterogeneity in the effect across the country with California's predicted impact equal to -$2.4 billion (or nearly 50% of state agricultural profits). Further, the analysis indicates that the predicted increases in temperature and precipitation will have virtually no effect on yields among the most important crops. These crop yield findings suggest that the small effect on profits is not due to short-run price increases. The paper also implements the hedonic approach that is predominant in the previous literature. We conclude that this approach may be unreliable, because it produces estimates of the effect of climate change that are very sensitive to seemingly minor decisions about the appropriate control variables, sample and weighting. Overall, the findings contradict the popular view that climate change will have substantial negative welfare consequences for the US agricultural sector.
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This paper reports the results of experiments designed to test whether individuals and groups abide by monotonicity with respect to first-order stochastic dominance and Bayesian updating, when making decisions under risk. The results indicate a significant number of violations of both principles. The violation rate when groups make decisions is substantially lower, and decreasing with group size, suggesting that social interaction improves the decision-making process. Greater transparency of the decvision task reduce the violation rate, suggesting that these violations are due to judgment errors rather than the preference structure. In one treatment, however, less complex decisions result in higher error rate.