Carbon pricing and public opinion

This seminar will be conducted through Zoom. Please register to join this seminar. You will then receive an email with the dial in details. The seminar will not be recorded.


The meeting is set up so that you will join muted and without video. The presenter will start at 3pm and share their screen to show the presentation. There will be time at the end for a Q&A session. Please use the ‘raise your hand’ function and the presenter will unmute you. A video on how to do this is here.

Stronger action on global environmental problems is very popular, but often specific solutions are not. A key question for making progress on environmental protection is thus how to increase support for policy instruments understood by economists to be effective, such as pricing pollution. Should we advocate for designing policy responses in a way that ‘citizens really like’ them, even potentially exploiting biases and misconceptions in the public’s understanding of actual economic properties of these policies? In the presentation, which is on work in progress, we explore a number of ideas. (1) Fairness concerns in general are a major reservation of the public against carbon pricing, however, we not know which different, well-known fairness conceptions prevalent in society matter for carbon pricing design (drawing on a preliminary manuscript by Sommer, Mattauch, Pahle). (2) Understanding how the contingent characteristics of policies heavily influence public support beyond their essential economic properties might change the normative model of how to give policy advice. (3) There is evidence that the classical equivalence of price and quantity instruments in environmental economics is not how the public perceives these instruments, with potential implications for instrument choice beyond climate change mitigation.