Environment Directorate

Environment working papers on behavioural economics


This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected studies on environmental issues prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal authors are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language English or French with a summary in the other if available.

2015 Sustainable Consumption Dilemmas
by Vringer, K., et al.

Consumers only occasionally choose to buy sustainable products. This study takes a closer look at public support for sustainable consumption and the associated dilemmas, with the help of a behavioural economics experiment of group decisions.

2015 Tender Instruments: Programme Participation and Impact in Australian Conservation Tenders, Grants and Volunteer Organisations
by Zachary Brown, Bastien Alvarez, Nick Johnstone

A striking variety of policy instruments are used in Victoria, Australia to achieve conservation objectives. These include highly active voluntary programmes, a variety of conservation grants, and a reverse auction for the provision of ecosystem services, known as EcoTender. An open question regarding such payments for ecosystem services (i.e. grants and tenders) is whether they achieve ‘additionality.’

2012 Testing the Effect of Defaults on the Thermostat Settings of OECD Employees
by Zack Brown, Nick Johnstone, Ivan Haščič, Laura Vong, Francis Barascud

Default options have been shown to affect behaviour in a variety of economic choice tasks, including health care and retirement savings. Less research has tested whether defaults affect behaviour in the domain of energy efficiency. This study uses data from a randomized controlled experiment in which the default settings on office thermostats in an OECD office building were manipulated during the winter heating season, and employees’ chosen thermostat setting observed over a 6 week period.

2012 Behavioural Economics and Environmental Incentives
by Jason Shogren

This review aims to improve our understanding of the implications of the insights from behavioural economics for environmental policy design. The review focuses on the question of incentive design in two broad areas — risk, conflict and cooperation; and mechanism design.

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