Research

Publications

Kenneth Gillingham, Stefano Carattini & Daniel Esty (2017), "Lessons from First Campus Carbon-Pricing Scheme"Nature51:27-29

Stefano Carattini, Andrea Baranzini, Philippe Thalmann, Frédéric Varone & Frank Vöhringer (2017), "Green Taxes in a Post-Paris World: Are Millions of Nays Inevitable?", Environmental and Resource Economics, 68 97–128

Andrea BaranziniJeroen van den Bergh, Stefano Carattini, Richard B. HowarthEmilio Padilla & Jordi Roca (2017), "Carbon Pricing in Climate Policy: Seven Reasons, Complementary Instruments, and Political-economy Considerations"Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 8:e462

Andrea Baranzini & Stefano Carattini (2017), "Effectiveness, Earmarking and Labeling: Testing the Acceptability of Carbon Taxes with Survey Data", Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, 19(1) 197-227

Stefano Carattini & Alessandro Tavoni (2016), "How Green are Green Economists?", Economics Bulletin, 36(4) p.A224

Stefano Carattini, Andrea Baranzini & Jordi Roca (2015), "Unconventional Determinants of Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The Role of Trust", Environmental Policy & Governance 25(4) 243-257    

Andrea Baranzini & Stefano Carattini (2014), "Taxation of Emissions of Greenhouse Gases". In: Freedman B. (Ed.), Global Environmental Change, Springer

Selected work in progress

"Climate Tweets" with Alessandro Tavoni

"Overcoming public resistance to carbon taxes" with Maria Carvalho and Samuel Fankhauser

"Traffic, Pollution and Health: Evidence from the London Congestion Charge" with Sefi Roth and Cheng Keat Tang

"Interventions Can't Last Forever: Spreading Stable Green Norms in Networks" with Richard Howarth and Gwen Spencer

"Trust and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Conditional Cooperation at a Global Scale" with Ara Jo

"Adding Fuel to Fire? Social Spillovers and Spatial Disparities in the Adoption of LPG in India" with Suchita Srinivasan

Working papers

"What Drives Social Contagion in the Adoption of Solar Photovoltaic Technology?" with Andrea Baranzini and Martin Péclat

Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Paper 270

Revise and resubmit

Increasing the use of renewable energy is central to address climate change. Recent research has suggested the existence of social contagion in the adoption of solar panels, which may contribute to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. While the existing literature has focused on residential adoption only, we extend the analysis to private firms and farms, and include solar panels with different characteristics. We exploit a unique large dataset providing detailed information on about 60,000 solar installations in Switzerland, including their specific location at the street level and details on the timing of the technological adoption, and couple it with rich socioeconomic data at the municipality level. Our detailed data allow us to adopt an empirical strategy addressing the main threats to identification associated with social contagion, including homophily and reflection. We find that households' decisions to adopt the solar technology are dependent on pre-existing adoption, and in particular on spatially close and recent installations. Firms and farms solar PV adoptions react to neighboring PV panels, although to a lesser extent than households. Furthermore, companies are more influences by panels installed by other companies, compared to panels installed by households. By distinguishing between building-integrated and building-attached PV systems and including capacity categories, we provide evidence that both learning and imitation are important components of social contagion. As a result, our findings provide new insights on the mechanisms of social contagion and how they could be leveraged with targeted interventions.

"Cooperation in the Climate Commons" with Simon Levin and Alessandro Tavoni

Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Paper 259

Revise and resubmit

Given the global public good properties of climate change mitigation, mitigation efforts have to rely on the willingness of individuals to contribute voluntarily to this public good, by reducing the demand on the environmental commons either in the form of "green" consumer behavior or through the acceptance of costly climate policy. Both are likely to be necessary. This paper surveys the existing empirical evidence on the scope for cooperation in the climate commons and on the effectiveness of possible interventions to spur it. We survey evidence that suggests a central role for local social norms in the provision of global public goods. We discuss the importance of the visibility of norms and the role of beliefs when such visibility is lacking. We conclude that some actors may behave as conditional cooperators also when confronted with global dilemmas, similarly to what takes place in the local commons.

"Carbon Offsets Out of the Woods? The Acceptability of Domestic vs. International Reforestation Programmes" with Andrea Baranzini and Nicolas Borzykowski

Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Paper 257

Revise and resubmit

Following the entry into force of the Paris Agreement in November 2016, governments around the world are now asked to turn their nationally determined contributions into concrete climate policies. Economic arguments justify implementing carbon pricing to achieve emission abatement targets in a cost-effective way, including the possibility to offset domestic greenhouse gas emissions in foreign countries. However, abating emissions abroad instead of domestically may face important political and popular resistance. We run a lab experiment with more than 300 participants by asking them to choose between a domestic and an international reforestation project. We test the effect of three informational treatments on the allocation of participants’ endowment between the domestic and the international project. The treatments consist in: (1) making more salient the cost-effectiveness gains associated with offsetting carbon abroad (2) providing guarantees on the reliability of reforestation programmes (3) stressing local ancillary benefits associated with domestic offset projects. We find that stressing the cost-effectiveness of the reforestation programme abroad is the best way to increase its support, the economic argument in favour of offsetting abroad being largely overlooked by participants. We relate this finding to the recent literature on the drivers of public support for climate policies, generally pointing to a gap between people’s preferences and economists’ prescriptions.

"Is Taxing Waste a Waste of Time? Evidence from a Supreme Court Decision" with Andrea Baranzini & Rafael Lalive

Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Paper 227

Heinz König Young Scholar Award

Revise and resubmit

Many people are against a garbage tax even though it often works. We study how a Supreme Court decision, mandating Vaud, a region of Switzerland, to implement a tax on garbage, affects garbage production and beliefs about the tax. Our empirical approach exploits that parts of Vaud already implemented a garbage tax before the mandate, allowing us to adopt a difference-in-differences approach. Pricing garbage by the bag (PGB) is highly effective, reducing unsorted garbage by 40 % (arc-elasticity of -0.3), increasing recycling of aluminum and organic waste, without negative spill-overs on adjacent regions. We also find that people are very concerned with PGB ex ante, but implementing PGB reduces concerns with effectiveness and fairness substantially. After implementing PGB, people intend to vote for an up to 70 % higher garbage tax compared to before PGB. Taxing garbage generates benefits worth 36 % of garbage management costs.