“More Information Isn’t Always Better: The Case of Voluntary Provision of Environmental Quality,” a paper by Professors of Economics Ann Owen, Julio Videras and Stephen Wu, was published in the July issue of the journal Economic Inquiry.
According to the paper’s abstract, the authors used a “new survey on pro-environment behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge and find that individuals act in accordance with their beliefs, regardless of whether or not these beliefs are accurate, and engage more frequently in activities that have a higher perceived impact on environmental quality.” They also found “that low provision of the public good is greater among people who believe they cannot do much for the environment and do not consider themselves environmentalists.”
Another paper, “Heat Waves, Droughts, and Preferences for Environmental Policy,” was published in the summer issue of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Written by Owen, Videras, Wu and Assistant Professor of Economics Emily Conover, the paper presents the results of the authors’ analysis of a “new household survey on environmental attitudes, behaviors, and policy preferences.”
The authors’ findings showed that “current weather conditions affect preferences for environmental regulation” and that “individuals who have recently experienced extreme weather (heat waves or droughts) are more likely to support laws to protect the environment even if it means restricting individual freedoms.” They also found “evidence that the channel through which weather conditions affect policy preference is via perceptions of the importance of the issue of global warming” and that “individuals who may be more sophisticated consumers of news are less likely to have their attitudes towards global warming changed by current weather conditions.”