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  • Managing Small-Scale Commercial Fisheries for Adaptive Capacity: Insights from Dynamic Social-Ecological Drivers of Change in Monterey BayAguilera, S.E., Cole, J., Finkbeiner, E.M., Le Cornu, E., Ban, N.C., Carr, M.H., Cinner, J.E., Crowder, L.B., Gelcich, S., Hicks, C.C., Kittenger, J.N., Martone, R., Malone, D., Pomeroy, C., Starr, R.M., Seram, S., Zuercher, R., Broad, K. | PLOS One, 1-22, 2015-03-19 [+]
    Abstract: Globally, small-scale fisheries are influenced by dynamic climate, governance, and market drivers, which present social and ecological challenges and opportunities. It is difficult to manage fisheries adaptively for fluctuating drivers, except to allow participants to shift effort among multiple fisheries. Adapting to changing conditions allows small-scale fishery participants to survive economic and environmental disturbances and benefit from optimal conditions. This study explores the relative influence of large-scale drivers on shifts in effort and outcomes among three closely linked fisheries in Monterey Bay since the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976. In this region, Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax), northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax), and market squid (Loligo opalescens) fisheries comprise a tightly linked system where shifting focus among fisheries is a key element to adaptive capacity and reduced social and ecological vulnerability. Using a cluster analysis of landings, we identify four modes from 1974 to 2012 that are dominated (i.e., a given species accounting for the plurality of landings) by squid, sardine, anchovy, or lack any dominance, and seven points of transition among these periods. This approach enables us to determine which drivers are associated with each mode and each transition. Overall, we show that market and climate drivers are predominantly attributed to dominance transitions. Model selection of external drivers indicates that governance phases, reflected as perceived abundance, dictate long-term outcomes. Our findings suggest that globally, small-scale fishery managers should consider enabling shifts in effort among fisheries and retaining existing flexibility, as adaptive capacity is a critical determinant for social and ecological resilience.
  • The Decision Making Individual Differences Inventory and guidelines for the study of individual differences in judgment and decision-making researchAppelt, K.C., Milch, K.F., Handgraaf, M.J.J., and Weber, E.U. | Judgment and Decision Making, 6(3): 252-262, 2011-04-01 [+]
    Abstract: Individual differences in decision making are a topic of longstanding interest, but often yield inconsistent and contradictory results. After providing an overview of individual difference measures that have commonly been used in judgment and decision-making (JDM) research, we suggest that our understanding of individual difference effects in JDM may be improved by amending our approach to studying them. We propose four recommendations for improving the pursuit of individual differences in JDM research: a more systematic approach; more theory-driven selection of measures; a reduced emphasis on main effects in favor of interactions between individual differences and decision features, situational factors, and other individual differences; and more extensive communication of results (whether significant or null, published or unpublished). As a first step, we offer our database—the Decision Making Individual Differences Inventory (DMIDI; html://, a free, public resource that categorizes and describes the most common individual difference measures used in JDM research. Keywords: individual differences, decision making, judgment, inventory, measures
  • Ownership Effect in the Wild: Influence of Land Ownership on Agribusiness Goals and Decisions in the Argentine PampasArora, P., Bert, F., Podesta, G., Krantz, D.H., | Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, doi: 10.1016/j.socec.2015.02.007, 2015-03-06 [+]
    Abstract: The psychological influence of ownership, albeit well studied in the lab, is less understood in the field. We examine its influence on agribusiness goals and decisions in the Argentine Pampas. Study 1, a survey of agribusinesses, finds differences in goal focus based on land ownership: Ownership positively predicts a focus on longer-term economic and social goals, as well as pro-environmental attitudes. Land ownership negatively predicts short-term profitability goal focus, which in turn mediates the use of futures/options to maximize profit, and influences land use for cash crops. Study 2 unpacks within-business differences via interviews with agribusiness that farm both owned and rented land. Ownership-based differences are observed in underlying intentions: the same individual focuses on enhancing the value of owned land, but on maximizing returns from rented land. This focus on deriving immediate value may be motivated by the initial rental cost incurred by the tenant, which can be thought of as a loss, making immediate profitability a more salient goal. This short-term focus, though logical in light of prevailing one-year leases in the Pampas, ignores that over 85% of leases are renewed by the same agribusiness, suggesting that the same tenant may well be the person facing future consequences. We explore the possibility that tenants may be effectively caught in a two-person social dilemma with their future selves.
  • Acting for the Greater Good: Identification with Group Determines Choices in Sequential Contribution DilemmasArora, P., Logg, J., Larrick, R. | Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 2015-07-23 [+]
    Abstract: In mixed-motive interactions, defection is the rational and common response to the defection of others. In some cases, however, group members not only cooperate in the face of defection but also compensate for the shortfalls caused by others' defection. In one field and two lab studies, we examined when group members were willing to compensate for versus match defection using sequential dilemmas. We found that the level of identification with the broader group increased willingness to compensate for intragroup defection, even when it was personally costly. Compensating for a defecting partner's actions, however, is not an act of unconditional cooperation: It is accompanied by a lack of trust in the errant group member and a desire to be perceived as more ethical. Cooperation by others, on the other hand, is matched independent of whether the cooperator was an in-group or out-group member. We find similar patterns of compensation and matching when the personal cost involved contributing money or effort.
  • To cooperate or not to cooperate: Using new methodologies and frameworks to understand how affiliation influences cooperation in the present and futureArora, P., Peterson, N.D., Krantz, D.H., Hardisty, D.J., & Reddy, K.S. | Journal of Economic Psychology, 33: 842-853, 2012-08-01 [+]
    Abstract: How can changes in degrees of group affiliation or identity change one’s decision to cooperate or defect in a dilemma? According to the logic of appropriateness, decision changes result from changes in answer to the question, “what does a person like me do in a situation like this?” In two studies, transient group affiliation is systematically manipulated to test its influence on the appropriateness question both in the present and future. Novel methodologies (videotaping group interactions to obtain observed levels of group affiliation, implicit measures of social concept activation and aspect listing protocols) were used to obtain a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the influence of group affiliation. Increases in group affiliation are accompanied by increases in the accessibility of social constructs, higher levels of cooperation, personal satisfaction and trust in one’s group. Similar patterns are observed for decisions in the present and future. There is an order effect observed with decisions to cooperate in the future carrying over to subsequent decisions to cooperate in the present, but a decision to initially cooperate in the present does not translate as strongly to a decision to cooperate in the future. This is in part because a more analytical approach is used for decisions pertaining to the future, while decisions in the present tend to be more affect-based.
  • Changing household behaviors to curb climate change: How hard can it be?Attari, S. Z., DeKay, M. L., Davidson, C. I., & Bruine de Bruin, W. | Sustainability: The Journal of Record, 4(1), 9-11., 2011-02-01 [+]
  • Reply to Frederick et al.: Anchoring effects on energy perceptions.Attari, S. Z., DeKay, M. L., Davidson, C. I., & Bruine de Bruin, W. | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(8), E24 (Letter)., 2011-02-01 [+]
  • Public perceptions of energy consumption and savingsAttari, S. Z., DeKay, M.L., Davidson, C. I., & Bruine de Bruin, W. | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107(37), 16054-16059. , 2010-08-16 [+]
    Abstract: In a national online survey, 505 participants reported their perceptions of energy consumption and savings for a variety of household, transportation, and recycling activities. When asked for the most effective strategy they could implement to conserve energy, most participants mentioned curtailment (e.g., turning off lights, driving less) rather than efficiency improvements (e.g., installing more efficient light bulbs and appliances), in contrast to experts’ recommendations. For a sample of 15 activities, participants underestimated energy use and savings by a factor of 2.8 on average, with small overestimates for low-energy activities and large underestimates for high-energy activities. Additional estimation and ranking tasks also yielded relatively flat functions for perceived energy use and savings. Across several tasks, participants with higher numeracy scores and stronger proenvironmental attitudes had more accurate perceptions. The serious deficiencies highlighted by these results suggest that well-designed efforts to improve the public’s understanding of energy use and savings could pay large dividends.10.1073/pnas.1001509107
  • Reasons for cooperation and defection in real-world social dilemmasAttari, S.Z., Krantz, D.H., Weber, E.U. | Judgment and Decision Making 9(4), pp. 316-334. , 2014-07-01 [+]
    Abstract: Interventions to increase cooperation in social dilemmas depend on understanding decision makers’ motivations for cooperation or defection. We examined these in five real-world social dilemmas: situations where private interests are at odds with collective ones. An online survey (N = 929) asked respondents whether or not they cooperated in each social dilemma and then elicited both open-ended reports of reasons for their choices and endorsements of a provided list of reasons. The dilemmas chosen were ones that permit individual action rather than voting or advocacy: (1) conserving energy, (2) donating blood, (3) getting a flu vaccination, (4) donating to National Public Radio (NPR), and (5) buying green electricity. Self-reported cooperation is weakly but positively correlated across these dilemmas. Cooperation in each dilemma correlates fairly strongly with self-reported altruism and with punitive attitudes toward defectors. Some strong domain-specific behaviors and beliefs also correlate with cooperation. The strongest example is frequency of listening to NPR, which predicts donation. Socio-demographic variables relate only weakly to cooperation. Respondents who self report cooperation usually cite social reasons (including reciprocity) for their choice. Defectors often give self-interest reasons but there are also some domain-specific reasons—some report that they are not eligible to donate blood; some cannot buy green electricity because they do not pay their own electric bills. Cooperators generally report that several of the provided reasons match their actual reasons fairly well, but most defectors endorse none or at most one of the provided reasons for defection. In particular, defectors often view cooperation as costly but do not endorse free riding as a reason for defection. We tentatively conclude that cooperation in these settings is based mostly on pro-social norms and defection on a mixture of self-interest and the possibly motivated perception that situational circumstances prevent cooperation in the given situation.
  • Enabling energy conservation through effective decision aidsAttari, S.Z., Rajagopal, D., | Journal of Sustainability Education, 8, 2015-01-01 [+]
    Abstract: Why don’t people adopt energy efficient appliances and curtail their behaviors to decrease energy use? People may not know which behaviors are truly effective and may be insufficiently motivated to change their behaviors. We focus on one area of this problem by first analyzing existing decision aids, tools available to help users make effective decisions. We explore EPA’s Energy Star program, DoE’s EERE calculators, and LBNL’s Home Energy Saver tool. We highlight their strengths and limitations and propose a framework to expand the functionality and uptake of the information through such aids. We suggest improvements along two broad areas. One area concerns the analytic capabilities and the information content of the decision aid, which focuses on (1) multiple goals and constraints, (2) hidden costs, and (3) heterogeneity in user characteristics. The other pertains to the framing so that users can easily process information through decision architecture by limiting choice overload and incorporating smart default options.
  • Perceptions of Water UseAttari, Shahzeen Z. (2014). | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 2014-03-03 [+]
    Abstract: In a national online survey, 1,020 participants reported their perceptions of water use for household activities. When asked for the most effective strategy they could implement to conserve water in their lives, or what other Americans could do, most participants mentioned curtailment (e.g., taking shorter showers, turning off the water while brushing teeth) rather than efficiency improvements (e.g., replacing toilets, retrofitting washers). This contrasts with expert recommendations. Additionally, some participants are more likely to list curtailment actions for themselves, but list efficiency actions for other Americans. For a sample of 17 activities, participants underestimated water use by a factor of 2 on average, with large underestimates for high water-use activities. An additional ranking task showed poor discrimination of low vs. high embodied water content in food products. High numeracy scores, older age, and male sex were associated with more accurate perceptions of water use. Overall, perception of water use is more accurate than the perception of energy consumption and savings previously reported. Well-designed efforts to improve public understanding of household water use could pay large dividends for behavioral adaptation to temporary or long-term decreases in availability of fresh water.
  • Behavioral multi-criteria decision analysis: further elaborations on the TODIM method.Autran Monteiro Gomes, L. F. and X. I. González | Foundations of Computing and Decision Sciences, 37(1): 3-8. Poznań University of Technology, ISSN 0867-6356., 2012-01-01 [+]
    Abstract: This short communication reviews the role of the TODIM method within behavioral decision theory and presents its genesis. Two important aspects of the method such as generalizing that method towards cumulative prospect theory and the choice of a reference point are further clarified.10.2478/v10209-011-0001-1
  • Climate and society: What is the human dimension?Balstad, R. & Hourcade, J.C. | In C. Gautier & J-L. Fellous (Eds.), Facing Climate Change Together. New York: Cambridge University Press., 2008-07-01 [+]
    Summary: The vast majority of climate scientists now agree that human-induced climate change is a reality, but there is much ongoing research and debate. Nevertheless, our global society is confronted with the urgent need for a wise response to potential climate change. This volume brings together scientists from the US and Europe to review the state of the art in climate change science. It draws from the most recent assessment reports of the IPCC, but scientific jargon has been minimized for readers from different backgrounds. Each chapter provides a description of a particular aspect of the climate problem, its role in current climate change, its potential future impacts, and its societal importance. This book is written for scientists and students in a wide range of fields, such as atmospheric science, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, geology and socioeconomics, who are seeking a coherent and broad review of climate change issues.
  • Climate, Society, and Caesar’s WifeBalstad, R. | Weather, Climate, and Society, 2(2): 89-90, 2010-04-01 [+]
  • The Interdisciplinary Challenges of Climate Change ResearchBalstad, R. | World Social Science Report, pp. 210-212, 2010-01-01
  • Adapting to an uncertain climate on the Great Plains: testing hypotheses on historical populations.Balstad, R., Russell, R., Gil, V., Marx, S. | In N. Adger, I. Lorenzoni, & K. O'Brien (Eds.), Adapting to Climate Change: Thresholds, Values, Governance.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 283-295, 2009-08-01 [+]
    Excerpt: We begin this chapter with two questions: first, how do people adapt to climate uncertainty? Second, can the historical past serve as a laboratory for testing and understanding human responses to climate uncertainty? We examine these questions in the context of a study of adaptation to climate variability in a county in the northern great plains of the United States during and after its initial agricultural settlement in the late nineteenth century. the purpose of the study is to understand how a newly arrived population of european immigrants and european-origin settlers from the eastern United States adapted to the harsh and uncertain climate conditions on the great plains. But rather than constructing a historical narrative on how climate influenced the settlement experience, we will instead examine current theory on decision-making related to adaptation to climate uncertainty and study how the settlement experience in the great plains can illuminate and contribute to this body of theory. 10.1017/CBO9780511596667.019
  • Contribution of anthropology to the study of climate changeBarnes, J., Dove, M., Lahsen, M., Mathews, A., McElwee, P., McIntosh, R., Moore, F., O'Reilly, J., Orlove, B., Puri, R., Weiss, H., Yager K. Nature Climate Change 3, 541–544 (2013), 2013-05-29
  • Percepción de variabilidad climática, uso de información y estrategias de los agentes frente al riesgo. Análisis de esquemas decisionales en agricultores de la región pampeana argentinaBarsky, A., Podestá, G., & Ruiz Toranzo, F. | Mundo Agrario- Revista de Estudios Rurales, 8(16), 00-00, ISSN 1515-5994, 2008 [+]
    Abstract: This article analyzes the elements that are considered by Pampean producers when making production decisions considering the climate as a factor. The article focuses on how producers perceive climate variability and on the type of information they manage when it comes to mid-term perspectives. During 2005, interviews were held with 60 producers, who were selected from two different zones of the Pampa region with different physical characteristics, thirty of them belonging to the central humid pampas in Buenos Aires province and the other thirty belonging toborder semiarid pampas located at Cordoba province. The results of the analysis help characterize the mental models behind the decision-making process in the individuals' perceptions, bearing in mind that their activity entails exposure to risk. The research's main objective is to propose communication measures that may help improve the use of climate forecasts by the social agents, assuming this is an available tool with significant potential to provide a more scientific support to the procedures of the production agents and to -improve economic earnings performance. 1515-5994
  • Value typology in cost-benefit analysisBaum, S.D. | Environmental Values, 21 (4), 499-524, 2012-11-01, 2012-11-01 [+]
    Abstract: Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) evaluates actions in terms of negative consequences (costs) and positive consequences (benefits). Though much has been said on CBA, little attention has been paid to the types of values held by costs and benefits. This paper introduces a simple typology of values in CBA and applies it to three forms of CBA: the common, money-based CBA, CBA based in social welfare, and CBA based in intrinsic value. The latter extends CBA beyond its usual anthropocentric domain. Adequate handling of value typology in CBA avoids analytical mistakes and connects CBA to its consequentialist roots.
  • Paleoclimate histories improve access and sustainability in index insurance programsBell, A. R., Osgood, D. E., Cook, B. I., Anchukaitis, K. J., McCarney, G. R., Greene, A. M., & Cook, E. R. | Global Environmental Change., 2013-04-18
  • Paleoclimate histories improve access and sustainability in index insurance programsBell, A.R., Osgood, D., Cook, B.I., Anchukaitis, K.J., McCarney, G., Greene, A., Buckley, B.M., Cook, E.R. | Global Environmental Change , 23(4), pp. 774-781, 2013-08-01 [+]
    Proxy-based climate reconstructions can extend instrumental records by hundreds of years, providing a wealth of climate information at high temporal resolution. To date, however, their usefulness for informing climate risk and variability in policy and social applications has been understudied. Here, we apply tree-ring based reconstructions of drought for the last 700 years in a climate index insurance framework to show that additional information from long climate reconstructions significantly improves our understanding of the underlying climate distributions and variability. We further show that this added information can be used to better characterize risk to insurance providers, in many cases providing meaningful reductions in long-term contract costs to farmers in stand-alone policies. The impact of uncertainty on insurance premiums can also be reduced when insurers diversify portfolios, and the availability of long-term climate information from tree rings across a broad geographic range provides an opportunity to characterize spatial correlation in climate risk across geographic regions. Our results are robust to the range of climate variability experienced over the last 400 years and in model simulations of the twenty-first century, even within the context of changing baselines due to low frequency variability and secular climate trends. These results demonstrate the utility of longer-term climate histories in index insurance applications. Furthermore, they make the case from a climate-variability perspective for the continued importance of such approaches to improving the instrumental climate record, even into a non-stationary climate future.
  • Agent-based Modeling of a Rental Market for Agricultural Land in the Argentine Pampas.Bert, F., Podestá, G. P. ,Rovere, S., North, M., Menéndez, A., Laciana, C., Macal, C., Weber, E. & Sydelko, P. | In Swayne, D., Yang, W., Voinov, A.A., Rizzoli, A. Filatova, T. (Eds.). Proceedings of the iEMSs, 2010-07-05 [+]
    Abstract: More than half of land in the Argentine Pampas is cropped by tenants. The importance of production on rented land motivated development of a LAnd Rental MArket (LARMA) model with endogenous formation of Land Rental Price (LRP). LARMA is a “hybrid” model that relies partly on easy-to-implement concepts from neoclassical economics, but addresses drawbacks of this approach by being integrated into an agentbased model that involves heterogeneous agents interacting in a dynamic environment. LRP formation assumes economic equilibrium: it is the price at which supply of rental land area equals land demand. LRP depends on (a) the “willing to accept” price (WTAP) of owners renting out land due to lack of capital or dissatisfaction with recent economic progress (a Minimum Progress Rate, MPR, is targeted), and (b) the “willing to pay” price (WTPP) and working capital (WC) of potential tenants. Land owners base WTAP on estimated profits they could achieve from operating their farms. Potential tenants base WTPP on their target gross margin for the upcoming cycle. Initial experiments with simplified economic contexts (input and output prices) did not show significant differences in regional land tenure from LARMA vs. use of an exogenous, fixed LRP. Nevertheless, simulated LRP trajectories reproduced observed dynamics: prices followed consistently the trajectories of conditions driving crop yields and profits. Consideration of MPR induced many land owners to rent out their farms, thus increasing the proportion of rented land. LARMA is a first attempt to translate equilibrium-based models into a model involving agent heterogeneity and social embeddedness. Many LARMA components will be used in a subsequent model with full bilateral transactions.
  • An agent based model to simulate structural and land use changes in agricultural systems of the argentine pampasBert, F., Podestá, G., Rovere, S., Menéndez, A., North, M., Tatara, E., Laciana, C., Weber, E., Toranzo, F. | Ecological Modeling, 222 (19): pp3486-3499, 2011-09-24 [+]
    Abstract: The Argentine Pampas, one of the main agricultural areas in the world, recently has undergone significant changes in land use and structural characteristics of agricultural production systems. Concerns about the environmental and societal impacts of the changes motivated development of an agent-based model (ABM) to gain insight on processes underlying recent observed patterns. The model is described following a standard protocol (ODD). Results are discussed for an initial set of simplified simulations performed to understand the processes that generated and magnified the changes in the Pampas. Changes in the structure of agricultural production and land tenure seem to be driven by differences among farmers’ ability to generate sufficient agricultural income to remain in business. In turn, as no off-farm or credit is modeled, economic sustainability is tied to initial resource endowment (area cropped). Farmers operating small areas are economically unviable and must lease out their farms to farmers operating larger areas. This leads to two patterns: (a) a concentration of production (fewer farmers operating larger areas) and, (b) an increase in the area operated by tenants. The simulations showed an increase of soybean area, linked to the higher profitability of this crop. Despite the stylized nature of initial simulations, all emerging patterns are highly consistent with changes observed in the Pampas.
  • Lessons from a comprehensive validation of an agent based-model: The experience of the Pampas Model of Argentinean agricultural systemsBert, F.E., Rovere, S.L., Macal, C.M., North, M.J. and Podestá, G.P | Ecological Modeling , 2013-12-13
  • Climatic information and decision-making in maize crop production systems of the Argentinean PampasBert, F.E., Satorre, E.H., Toranzo, F.R., & Podestá, G.P. (2006). | Agricultural Systems, 88, 180-204., 2006-06-01 [+]
    Abstract: In many places, predictions of regional climate variability associated with El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon offer the potential to improve farmers’ decision-making, i.e., mitigate negative impacts of adverse conditions or take advantage of favorable conditions. However, various conditions must be met for a forecast to result in enhanced decision-making. First, information has to be relevant to, and compatible with production decisions. Second, alternative options must exist for a given decision and these should result in different outcomes under different climate conditions. Third, decision-makers should be able to evaluate the outcomes of alternative actions. In this paper, we explored these conditions as part of a case study targeting maize production systems in the Argentine Pampas. The decision-making process was described via “decision maps” that (a) characterized the main decisions involved in maize production systems and their timing, (b) identified decisions sensitive to climate, and (c) provided a realistic set of options for each decision under different seasonal climate scenarios. Then, we used crop simulation models to assess the outcomes of tailoring crop management to predicted climate conditions. We found differences between the options selected by regional advisors for each climate scenario and those that maximized average profits in the simulation exercise. In particular, differences were most noticeable in preferred nitrogen fertilization rates. While advisors tended to lower fertilization in response to a forecast of dry spring conditions, associated with La Niña events, the simulation exercise showed a consistent drop in maize yields and profits with low N rates even in La Niña years. Advisors and producers’ aversion to risk can be determining these differences, since the analysis showed that the probability of negative economic results are minimized under their decision rule. The procedure was effective to meet some of the conditions required to use climate information and to determine the value of incorporating ENSO-related information to effectively improve the maize decision process. However, results suggest that better knowledge of farmers decision rules are necessary when the value of using climatic information is estimated and interpreted.10.1016/j.agsy.2005.03.007
  • Risk Aversion When Gains Are Likely and Unlikely: Evidence from a Natural Experiment with Large StakesBlavatskyy, P. and G. Pogrebna |Theory and Decision, 64(2), pp. 395-420, 2008 [+]
    Abstract: In the television show Deal or No Deal a contestant is endowed with a sealed box, which potentially contains a large monetary prize. In the course of the show the contestant learns more information about the distribution of possible monetary prizes inside her box. Consider two groups of contestants, who learned that the chances of their boxes containing a large prize are 20% and 80% correspondingly. Contestants in both groups receive qualitatively similar price offers for selling the content of their boxes. If contestants are less risk averse when facing unlikely gains, the price offer is likely to be more frequently rejected in the first group than in the second group. However, the fraction of rejections is virtually identical across two groups. Thus, contestants appear to have identical risk attitudes over (large) gains of low and high probability.10.1007/s11238-007-9056-0
  • Are social prediction errors universal? Predicting compliance with a direct request across culturesBohns, V.K., Handgraaf, M.J.J, Sun, J., Aaldering, H., Mao, C., Logg, J. | Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 47(3): 676-680, 2011-01-09
  • Divergence between Individual Perceptions and Objective Indicators of Tail Risks: Evidence from Floodplain Residents in New York CityBotzen, W. W., Kunreuther, H., & Michel-Kerjan, E. | Judgement and Decision Making, 10(4):365-385, 2015-07-04 [+]
    Abstract: This study provides the first comprehensive analysis of individual perceptions of tail risks. It focuses not only on the probability, as has been studied by Nicholas Barberis and others, but also on anticipation of damage. We examine how those perceptions relate to experts’ estimates and publicly available risk information. Behavioural factors—availability bias, threshold models of choice, worry and trust—are found to have a significant impact on risk perceptions. The probability of tail events is overestimated, which is consistent with probability weighting in prospect theory. Potential damage is underestimated, one reason why individuals do not invest in protective measures.
  • AgClimate: a case study in participatory decision support system development.Breuer, N.E., Cabrera, V.E., Ingram, K.T., Broad, K., & Hildebrandt, P.E. | Climatic Change, 87, 385-403, 2007-10-05 [+]
    Abstract: Potential economic benefit exists from the use of seasonal climate forecasts in agriculture. To assess potential end user attitudes toward and interests in climate data, and to provide inputs from users to the development of decision support tools, we conducted a series of surveys. Survey results affected the design, development, and enhancement of AgClimate, a web-based decision support system for minimizing climate risks to agriculture. The overall process is an example of how decision makers can participate in the research process, thereby improving the value and relevance of research products such as decision support systems.10.1007/s10584-007-9323-7
  • Channeling globality: The 1997-98 El Niño climate event in PeruBroad, K., & Orlove, B. American Ethnologist, 34(2), 285-302., 2007-05-01 [+]
    Abstract: We examine the unfolding of a planetary climate event, the 1997–98 El Niño, in a single country, Peru. Rather than seeing the worldwide attention to the event as an instance of globalization, we look at the actors who, in our terms, channeled globality by evoking a worldwide scale to build connections between disparate elements in cultural and political projects. We document how participants in Peruvian media and in everyday conversations attended selectively to certain international images and ideas as they related to the El Niño event and reworked them in distinctively Peruvian fashion. We also examine the specific context and tactics that allowed the state to succeed in channeling globality to further its ends.10.1525/ae.2007.34.2.285
  • Climate and human health: Physics, policy and possibilities. Broad, K., Bolson, J., Clement, A., Balstad, R., Marx, S., Peterson, N., & Ramirez, I. | In P. Walsh, S. Smith, L. Fleming, H. Solo-Gabriele, & W. Gerwick (Eds.), Oceans and Human Health: Risks and Remedies from the Sea. New York: Elsevier , 2008
  • Misinterpretations of the "Cone of Uncertainty" in Florida during the 2004 Hurricane Season.Broad, K., Leiserowitz, A., Weinkle, J. & Steketee, M. | Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 88(5):651-657, 2007-05-01 [+]
    Summary: Rigorous pretesting, including insights from social science, could improve hurricane forecast graphics aimed at the general public. 10.1175/BAMS-88-5-651
  • Climate, stream flow prediction and water management in northeast Brazil: Societal trends and forecast value. Broad, K., Pfaff, A., Taddei, R., Sankarasubramanian, A., Lall, U., & de Assis de Souza Filho, F. | Climatic Change, 84, 217-239., 2007 [+]
    Abstract: We assess the potential benefits from innovative forecasts of the stream flows that replenish reservoirs in the semi-arid state of Ceará, Brazil. Such forecasts have many potential applications. In Ceará, they matter for both water-allocation and participatory-governance issues that echo global debates. Our qualitative analysis, based upon extensive fieldwork with farmers, agencies, politicians and other key actors in the water sector, stresses that forecast value changes as a society shifts. In the case of Ceará, current constraints on the use of these forecasts are likely to be reduced by shifts in water demand, water allocation in the agricultural Jaguaribe Valley, participatory processes for water allocation between this valley and the capital city of Fortaleza, and risk perception. Such changes in the water sector can also have major distributional impacts.10.1007/s10584-007-9257-0
  • Science-based insuranceBrown, M., Osgood, D., and Carriquiry, M. | Nature Geoscience, 213-214 , 2012-04-04 [+]
    Summary: Crops are at risk in a changing climate. Farmers in the developing world will be able to insure against harvest failure if robust insurance packages, based on a geophysical index rather than individual loss, become widely available. 10.1038/ngeo1117
  • Global Warming and Changing Water Resources: Perceptions of Glacier Retreat in Mountain Regions.Brugger, J., Dunbar, K., Jurt, C., Orlove, B. | Anthropology News, 51(2), 23-24., 2010-01-29
  • Climates of anxiety: Comparing experience of glacier retreat across three mountain regionsBrugger, J., Dunbar, K.W., Jurt, C., Orlove, B. | Emotion, Space, and Society 6, 4-13, 2013-02-01
  • Metric and Scale Design as Choice Architecture ToolsCamilleri, A. & Larrick, R. | Journal of Public Policy and Marketing., 2013-12-30 [+]
    Abstract: Interest is increasing in using behavioral decision insights to design better product labels. A specific policy target is the fuel economy label, which policy makers can use to encourage reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from transport-related fossil-fuel combustion. In two online experiments, the authors examine whether vehicle preferences can be shifted toward more fuel-efficient vehicles by manipulating the metric (consumption of gas vs. cost of gas) and scale (100 miles vs. 15,000 miles vs. 100,000 miles) on which fuel economy information is expressed. They find that preference for fuel-efficient vehicles is highest when fuel economy is expressed in terms of the cost of gas over 100,000 miles, regardless of whether the vehicle pays for its higher price in gas savings. The authors discuss the underlying psychological mechanisms for this finding, including compatibility, anchoring, and familiarity effects, and conclude that policy makers should initiate programs that communicate fuel-efficiency information in terms of costs over an expanded, lifetime scale.
  • Scale and metric design as choice architecture toolsCamilleri, A. R. & Larrick, R. P (published) | Marketing and Public Policy Conference Proceedings 2013 62-63
  • Translated attributes as a choice architecture tool: trick and treatCamilleri, A. R., Ungemach, C., Johnson, E. J., Larrick, R. P., & Weber, E. U. (2013) | In Salisbury, L. & Seiders, K. (Eds.) 2013 Marketing and Public Policy Conference Proceedings 15-16, 2013-05-30
  • Index Insurance, Production Practices, and Probabilistic Climate Forecasts.Carriquiri, M., and Osgood, D. | Journal of Risk and Insurance, 79(1), 287-300., 2012-03-01 [+]
    Abstract: Index insurance and probabilistic seasonal forecasts are becoming available in developing countries to help farmers manage climate risks in production. Although these tools are intimately related, work has not been done to formalize the connections between them. We investigate the relationship between the tools through a model of input choice under uncertainty, forecasts, and insurance. While it is possible for forecasts to undermine insurance, we find that when contracts are appropriately designed, there are important synergies between forecasts, insurance, and effective input use. Used together, these tools overcome barriers preventing the use of imperfect information in production decision making. 10.1111/j.1539-6975.2011.01422.x
  • Paying for what was free: Lessons from the New York Times paywallCook, J.E., Attari, S.Z. | Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15 (12), 682-687, 2012-01-12 [+]
    Abstract: In a national online longitudinal survey, participants reported their attitudes and behaviors in response to the recently implemented metered paywall by the New York Times. Previously free online content now requires a digital subscription to access beyond a small free monthly allotment. Participants were surveyed shortly after the paywall was announced and again 11 weeks after it was implemented to understand how they would react and adapt to this change. Most readers planned not to pay and ultimately did not. Instead, they devalued the newspaper, visited its Web site less frequently, and used loopholes, particularly those who thought the paywall would lead to inequality. Results of an experimental justification manipulation revealed that framing the paywall in terms of financial necessity moderately increased support and willingness to pay. Framing the paywall in terms of a profit motive proved to be a noncompelling justification, sharply decreasing both support and willingness to pay. Results suggest that people react negatively to paying for previously free content, but change can be facilitated with compelling justifications that emphasize fairness.
  • Public engagement with climate change: the role of human valuesCorner, A., Markowitz, E., Pidgeon, N. | WIREs Climate Change , 2014-01-21 [+]
    Abstract: A long history of interdisciplinary research highlights the powerful role that human values play in shaping individuals' engagement with environmental issues. That certain values are supportive of proenvironmental orientation and behavior is now well established. But as the challenge of communicating the risks of climate change has grown increasingly urgent, there has been a rise in interest around how values shape public engagement with this issue. In the current paper, we review the growing body of work that explores the role of human values (and the closely related concept of cultural worldviews) in public engagement with climate change. Following a brief conceptual overview of values and their relationship to environmental engagement in general, we then provide a review of the literature linking value-orientations and engagement with climate change. We also review both academic and ‘gray’ literature from civil society organizations that has focused on how public messages about climate change should be framed, and discuss the significance of research on human values for climate change communication strategies.
  • Public policy for thee, but not for me: Varying grammatical person of public policy justifications influences their supportCornwell, J. F. M. & Krantz, D. H. | Judgment and Decision Making, 9(5), 433-444, 2014-09-01 [+]
    Abstract: Past research has shown that people consistently believe that others are more easily manipulated by external influences than they themselves are—a phenomenon called the “third-person effect” (Davison, 1983). The present research investigates whether support for public policies aimed at changing behavior using incentives and other decision “nudges” is affected by this bias. Across two studies, we phrased justification for public policy initiatives using either the second- or third-person plural. In Study 1, we found that support for policies is higher when their justification points to people in general rather than the general “you”, and in Study 2 we found that this former phrasing also improves support compared to a no-justification control condition. Policy support is mediated by beliefs about the likelihood of success of the policies (as opposed to beliefs about the policies’ unintended consequences), and, in the second-person condition, is inversely related to a sense of personal agency. These effects suggest that the third-person effect holds true for nudge-type and incentive-based public policies, with implications for their popular support.
  • Forecast Skill and Farmers’ Skills: Seasonal Climate Forecasts and Agricultural Risk Management in the Southeastern United StatesCrane, T.A., Roncoli, C., Paz, J., Breuer, N., Broad K., Ingram, K.T., & Hoogenboom, G. | Weather, Climate, and Society, 2, 44-59., 2010-01-01 [+]
    Abstract: During the last 10 yr, research on seasonal climate forecasts as an agricultural risk management tool has pursued three directions: modeling potential impacts and responses, identifying opportunities and constraints, and analyzing risk communication aspects. Most of these approaches tend to frame seasonal climate forecasts as a discrete product with direct and linear effects. In contrast, the authors propose that agricultural management is a performative process, constituted by a combination of planning, experimentation, and improvisation and drawing on a mix of technical expertise, situated knowledge, cumulative experience, and intuitive skill as farmers navigate a myriad of risks in the pursuit of livelihood goals and economic opportunities. This study draws on ethnographic interviews conducted with 38 family farmers in southern Georgia, examining their livelihood goals and social values, strategies for managing risk, and interactions with weather and climate information, specifically their responses to seasonal climate forecasts. Findings highlight the social nature of information processing and risk management, indicating that both material conditions and value-based attitudes bear upon the ways farmers may integrate climate predictions into their agricultural management practices. These insights translate into specific recommendations that will enhance the salience, credibility, and legitimacy of seasonal climate forecasts among farmers and will promote the incorporation of such information into a skillful performance in the face of climate uncertainty. 10.1175/2009WCAS1006.1
  • Catastrophe model based quantification of riverine and storm surge, flood risk in texasCzajkowski, J., Kunreuther, H., Michel-Kerjan, E. | Risk Analysis , 33(12), pp.1532-1552, 2013-06-19 [+]
    The development of catastrophe models in recent years allows for assessment of the flood hazard much more effectively than when the federally run National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created in 1968. We propose and then demonstrate a methodological approach to determine pure premiums based on the entire distribution of possible flood events. We apply hazard, exposure, and vulnerability analyses to a sample of 300,000 single-family residences in two counties in Texas (Travis and Galveston) using state-of-the-art flood catastrophe models. Even in zones of similar flood risk classification by FEMA there is substantial variation in exposure between coastal and inland flood risk. For instance, homes in the designated moderate-risk X500/B zones in Galveston are exposed to a flood risk on average 2.5 times greater than residences in X500/B zones in Travis. The results also show very similar average annual loss (corrected for exposure) for a number of residences despite their being in different FEMA flood zones. We also find significant storm-surge exposure outside of the FEMA designated storm-surge risk zones. Taken together these findings highlight the importance of a microanalysis of flood exposure. The process of aggregating risk at a flood zone level—as currently undertaken by FEMA—provides a false sense of uniformity. As our analysis indicates, the technology to delineate the flood risks exists today.
  • Quantifying Riverine and Storm-Surge Flood Risk by Single-Family Residence: Application in TexasCzajkowski, J., Kunreuther,H., Michel-Kerjan, E. (2013) | Risk Analysis 33: 2092-2110, 2013-06-19 [+]
    Abstract: The development of catastrophe models in recent years allows for assessment of the flood hazard much more effectively than when the federally run National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created in 1968. We propose and then demonstrate a methodological approach to determine pure premiums based on the entire distribution of possible flood events. We apply hazard, exposure, and vulnerability analyses to a sample of 300,000 single-family residences in two counties in Texas (Travis and Galveston) using state-of-the-art flood catastrophe models. Even in zones of similar flood risk classification by FEMA there is substantial variation in exposure between coastal and inland flood risk. For instance, homes in the designated moderate-risk X500/B zones in Galveston are exposed to a flood risk on average 2.5 times greater than residences in X500/B zones in Travis. The results also show very similar average annual loss (corrected for exposure) for a number of residences despite their being in different FEMA flood zones. We also find significant storm-surge exposure outside of the FEMA designated storm-surge risk zones. Taken together these findings highlight the importance of a microanalysis of flood exposure. The process of aggregating risk at a flood zone level—as currently undertaken by FEMA—provides a false sense of uniformity. As our analysis indicates, the technology to delineate the flood risks exists today.
  • Index Insurance for Managing Climate-Related Agricultural Risk: Toward a Strategic Research Agenda Workshop Report.De Nicola, F., Vargas Hill, R., Carter, M., Choularton, R., Hansen, J., & Osgood, D. | International Food Policy Research Institute Report, Washington DC, IFPRI. , 2011-12-01 [+]
    Summary: In October 2011, the CGIAR program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Index Insurance Innovation Initiative (I4) organized a joint workshop hosted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The workshop was designed to identify and address issues surrounding index‐based insurance for smallholder farmers and the rural poor in the developing world. Emphasis was placed on identifying key areas of research and learning for the academic and policy community to pursue. The workshop took as its starting point the idea that there is large potential in using indices to insure smallholder farmers. However, in practice, the costs of providing and scaling up index insurance have not been insubstantial. In view of this potential and these constraints, workshop participants identified key areas of research and learning aimed at increasing the benefits of index‐based insurance to smallholder farmers and the rural poor in the developing world. This report summarizes the findings of the two‐day workshop. Publisher's page
  • Subjective realities of climate change: how mental maps of impacts deliver socially sensible adaptation optionsDiana Reckien, Martin Wildenberg & Michael Bachhofer | Sustainability Science, Vol. 1, 2012-08-03
  • Reducing Carbon-Based Energy Consumption through Changes in Household BehaviorDietz, T., Stern, P. C., & Weber, E. U. | Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 142(1), 78-89, 2013-01-03 [+]
    Abstract: Actions by individuals and households to reduce carbon-based energy consumption have the potential to change the picture of U.S. energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions in the near term. To tap this potential, however, energy policies and programs need to replace outmoded assumptions about what drives human behavior; they must integrate insights from the behavioral and social sciences with those from engineering and economics. This integrated approach has thus far only occasionally been implemented. This essay summarizes knowledge from the social sciences and from highly successful energy programs to show what the potential is and how it can be achieved. 10.1162/DAED_a_00186
  • Designing Index-Based Weather Insurance for Farmers in Adi Ha, Ethiopia.  Report to OXFAM AmericaDinku, T, Giannini, A, Hansen, J, Holthaus, E, Ines, A, Kaheil, Y, Karnauskas, K, Lyon, B, Madajewicz, M, Mclaurin, M, Mullally, C, Norton, M, Osgood, D, Peterson, N, Robertson, A, Shirley, K, Small, C, Vicarelli, M | IRI Technical Report 09-04, 2009-07-01 [+]
    Introduction: This report documents the process and results of the index insurance design effort leading to the index insurance contracts for Adi Ha in 2009. This report represents deliverables 1 and 2 in the terms of reference with Oxfam America, it outlines and compares analysis and design methodologies including the performance of rainfall simulators for index-based contract design. It also details contracts, methodologies, associated issues, and important lessons learned. A separate project report details the Experimental Games, deliverable 3 in the terms of reference.
  • Comparing knowledge of and experience with climate change across three glaciated mountain regions.Dunbar, K.W., J. Brugger, C. Jurt, and B. Orlove. | In A. Peter Castro, Dan Taylor and David W. Brokensha (Eds.), Climate Change and Threatened Communities, 93-106. Rugby, Warwickshire, UK: Practical Action Publishing., 2012-01-01
  • Realizing managed retreat and innovation in state-level coastal management planningDyckman, C.S., St. John, C., London, J.B. | Ocean & Coastal Management, 102(A), 212-223., 2014-12-01
  • Addressing Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the PacificEdes, B., Gemenne, F., Hill, J., Reckien, D., 2012-08-03 [+]
  • Simulation & GamingEisenack, K. and Reckien, D. (Eds.). Simulation and Gaming 44 (2-3), 2013-04-01
  • Perspectives on Ecosystem Based Management for Delivering Ecosystem Services with an Example from an Eighteen-Species Marine ModelFinoff, D., Gong, M., and Tschirhart, J. | International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics 6(1): 79-118, 2012-01-01 [+]
    "(Ecologists) recommendations, when problems arise, tend to favor the preservation of nature, or to favor management programs that optimize only the biological side of the problem. It is not surprising that man, in self-interest, has usually chosen instead the recommendations of the economist or engineer, who is trained to optimize the human side of the problem.'' (Smith, 1968, p. 11)10.1561/101.00000048
  • Oceans and human health: Emerging public health risks in the marine environmentFleming, L.E., Broad, K., Clement, A., Dewailly, E., Elmir, S., Knap, A., Pomponi, S.A., Smith, S., Solo Gabriele, H., & Walsh, P. | Marine Pollution Bulletin, 53, 545-560, 2006 [+]
    Abstract: There has been an increasing recognition of the inter-relationship between human health and the oceans. Traditionally, the focus of research and concern has been on the impact of human activities on the oceans, particularly through anthropogenic pollution and the exploitation of marine resources. More recently, there has been recognition of the potential direct impact of the oceans on human health, both detrimental and beneficial. Areas identified include: global change, harmful algal blooms (HABs), microbial and chemical contamination of marine waters and seafood, and marine models and natural products from the seas. It is hoped that through the recognition of the inter-dependence of the health of both humans and the oceans, efforts will be made to restore and preserve the oceans.10.1016/j.marpolbul.2006.08.012
  • Beyond the “fit”: introducing climate forecasts among organic farmers in Georgia (United States)Furman, C., Roncoli, C., Crane, T., & Hoogenboom, G. | Climatic Change 109(3-4), 791-799, 2011-09-20 [+]
    Abstract: Organic farmers are a prime clientele for climate services by virtue of their social profile and vulnerability of produce to climate extremes. The study draws on an online survey and in-depth interviews with organic farmers in Georgia (United States). It shows that organic farmers access and act on climate information in ways that reflect their emphasis on diversified and flexible systems. They favor a pluralistic knowledge base that integrates scientific expertise with place-based experience and intuitive understandings. Their management style combines information at multiple temporal scales and draws on a range of technical and social resources. Translating climate forecasts into usable science for organic farming requires attention to the identities, commitments, and relationships that define the organic farming community.10.1007/s10584-011-0238-y
  • Glaciers and society: attributions, perceptions, and valuationsGagné, K., Rasmussen, M.B., Orlove, B. | WIREs Climate Change, 5 (6): pp 793-808, 2014-11-01 [+]
    Abstract: As icons of a world set in motion by human action, glaciers are often highlighted as quintessential evidences of global climate change. Although there is a general agreement among scientists that glaciers around the world are receding, much of the discussions on the subject tend to be oriented toward technological methodologies. Yet, as elements of the landscape, glaciers are strongly integrated to various societies around the world in ways that exceed their role as provider of fundamental sources of water. The relation between glaciers and societies is therefore marked by processes of attribution, perception, and valuation by local and distant actors. As a consequence, as they recede, glaciers often become the loci of interactions between actors of various scales. But besides melting, glaciers also transform from being objects of local to national and global concern. This is particularly true when esthetic and economic values are assigned to glaciers. Real and perceived changes in the form, reach and out-flow of water impact the local populations, and shape the kinds of action undertaken by communities, local actors, state authorities, and international organizations. The paper concludes by arguing that place-based research is fundamental to discuss a global environmental phenomenon such as glacier recession. WIREs Clim Change 2014, 5:793–808. doi: 10.1002/wcc.315
  • Introduction to symposium on rethinking farmer participation in agricultural development: development, participation, and the ethnography of ambiguityGlenzer, K., N. Peterson, C. Roncoli | Agriculture and Human Values, 28:97–98., 2010-12-25 [+]
    Introduction: The topic of participation is not new to efforts to improve agricultural livelihoods and natural resource management in developing countries. Viewed as a means to encourage more democratic decision making and increase ownership and sustainability of development interventions, participation has many advocates as well as critics (see, for example, Cooke and Kothari 2001; Hickey and Mohan 2005; Moore 2000; Peters 2000; Pottier 1997). Proponents argue that a wide range of benefits results from participation, such as improved understanding, ‘‘better’’ decisions in terms of efficiency or quality, greater equity, conflict mitigation, and sustainability (Michener 1998; Brody et al. 2003). The papers in this symposium offer an additional set of perspectives, in the hope of establishing a deeper understanding of what influences participation and how, in turn, this affects who participates, how they participate, and what the outcomes may be. The authors employ a diverse set of methods to explore the multiple ways that participation is subject to manipulation and interpretation, examining microanalyses of behavior within their larger political, economic, and linguistic contexts. 10.1007/s10460-010-9305-7
  • Interview Effects in an Environmental Valuation Telephone SurveyGong, M. and Aadland, D. | Environmental and Resource Economics, 49(1): 47-67, 2011-01-01 [+]
    Abstract: Because of the lack of markets for many environmental services, economists have turned to valuation surveys to estimate the value of these services. However, lack of market experience may cause respondents in valuation surveys to be more prone to interview effects than they would be with other opinion surveys. Without reference to market price or experience, respondents are less likely to have well-defined preferences, which may cause respondents to be more easily influenced by the interview process and characteristics of the interviewer. In this paper, we investigate interview effects in a random digit dial telephone survey of recycling valuation and behavior. Following previous research in both psychology and survey methodology, we test the direct effects of interviewer gender and race, as well as the interaction effects between interviewer and respondent characteristics. Using data from 130 interviewers and 1,786 interviewees, we apply a hierarchical regression model that accounts for the clustering of interviews and controls for a variety of other confounding variables. We confirm the existence of both direct and conditional interviewer effects. Respondents state higher willingness to pay when interviewed by white or female interviewers than by non-white or male interviewers. There were also significant interaction effects between interviewer and respondent characteristics. The directions of the interviewer effects are consistent with previous survey research and social psychology theories. We also identify some non-traditional interview process factors that have an influence on survey responses. 10.1007/s10640-010-9423-0
  • The Generality of the Emotion Effect on Magnitude SensitivityGong, M. and Baron, J. | Journal of Economic Psychology, 32(1):17-24, 2010-10-01 [+]
    Abstract: Three studies asked whether reported emotional response interfere with magnitude sensitivity, defined as a subjective evaluation difference between a high magnitude outcome and a low one. Previous research has reported that emotion reduces magnitude sensitivity under separate evaluation in a gain domain (Hsee & Rottenstreich, 2004), a negative effect. We test the generality of this emotion effect in gain and loss domains, and under separate or joint evaluation mode, using a variety of stimuli. We found an opposite, positive, effect in Experiment 1 (in willingness to pay to save species or prevent health impairments) and Experiment 3 (in willingness to pay to prevent bad outcomes in news stories) but replicated the original negative effect in Experiment 2 (compensation for losses). Further research is needed to disentangle possible causes of these effects and to explore how these findings may be applied to measurement of values for non-market goods.10.1016/j.joep.2010.10.002
  • Group Cooperation Under UncertaintyGong, M., Baron, J. and Kunreuther, H. | Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 39 (3): 251-270, 2009-10-15 [+]
    Abstract: Previous research has shown an ‘interindividual-intergroup discontinuity effect’: intergroup interactions generally lead to less cooperative outcomes than interindividual interactions. We replicate the discontinuity effect in the deterministic prisoner’s dilemma, but find that groups are more cooperative than individuals in a stochastic version of the game. Three major factors that underlie the usual discontinuity effect are reduced in the stochastic environment: greed, fear, and persuasion power. Two group mechanisms are proposed to explain the reversed discontinuity effect: the motivation to avoid guilt and blame when making decisions that affect others’ welfare, and the social pressure to conform to certain norms when one is in a group setting.10.1007/s11166-009-9080-2
  • The Role of Subsidies in Coordination Games with Interconnected RiskGong, M., Heal, G., Krantz, D., Kunreuther, H., and Weber, E. (2014) | Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 2014-02-17 [+]
    Abstract: Can subsidies promote Pareto-optimum coordination? We found that partially subsidizing the cooperative actions for two out of six players in a laboratory coordination game usually produced better coordination and higher total social welfare with both deterministic and stochastic payoffs. Not only were the subsidized players more likely to cooperate (choose the Pareto-optimum action), but the unsubsidized players increased their expectations on how likely others would cooperate, and they cooperated more frequently themselves. After removal of the subsidy, high levels of coordination continued in most groups with stochastic payoffs but declined in deterministic ones. This carry-over disparity between the deterministic and stochastic settings was consistent with the economic theories that agents were more likely to keep the status quo option under uncertainty than without uncertainty. Hence, players with stochastic payoffs were more likely to keep the high coordination level (status quo) brought by the subsidy in the previous subsidy session. A post-game survey also indicated that with stochastic payoffs, players focused on risk reduction. Temporary subsidies promoted lasting coordination because even after subsidy was removed, players still assumed that others players would prefer reduced risks from cooperation. With deterministic payoffs, however, the subsidy might crowd out other rationales for coordination, with many players indicating that the subsidy was the only reason for anyone to cooperate. Hence, the coordination level dropped when the subsidy was removed.
  • Why Chinese Discount Future Financial and Environmental Gains but not Losses More Than AmericansGong, M., Krantz, D., and E. Weber (under review) | Journal of Risk and Uncertainty
  • Why do People Care about the Sea Lion? – A Fishing Game to Study the Value of Endangered SpeciesGong, M., and Heal, G. (2013) | Environmental and Resource Economics, 2013-12-12 [+]
    Abstract: Previous research proposes that human beings are motivated to protect endangered species for various reasons: consumptive use value, non-consumptive use value, non-use value, and intrinsic value. However, it has been difficult to tease apart these values at the behavioral level. Using an innovative fishing game, we study an important tradeoff between one kind of use value (monetary value) and one kind of non-use value (existence value) of the endangered Steller sea lion. In the fishing game, players make repeated decisions on how much pollock to harvest for profit in each period in a dynamic ecosystem. The population of the endangered sea lion depends on the population of pollock, which in turn depends on the harvesting behavior of humans. The data show that in general, people responded to the financial value (as a tourist resource), but not the existence value, of the sea lion by cutting down commercial fish harvesting to keep more sea lions in the ecosystem. However, not all people behaved the same regarding the existence value. Females displayed a higher existence value than males, as did people who reported stronger pro-environmental attitudes than those with weaker pro-environmental attitudes. Our findings have multiple implications on public opinion elicitation and public policy design.
  • The moral complexity of climate change and the need for a multidisciplinary perspective on climate ethicsGrasso, M., Markowitz, E. | Climatic Change 130(3): 327-334, 2015-06-01 [+]
  • Political ideology affects energy-efficiency attitudes and choicesGromet, D., Kunreuther, H., and Larrick, R. | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , Online, 2013-04-29
  • Web conferencing as a viable alternative method to face-to-face interaction in group decision researchHandgraaf, M. J. J., Schuette, P., Yoskowitz, N. A., Milch, K. F., Appelt, K. C., & Weber, E. U. | Judgment and Decision Making, 7 (5), 659-668, 2012-09-01 [+]
    Abstract: Studying group decision-making is challenging for multiple reasons. An important logistic difficulty is studying a sufficiently large number of groups, each with multiple participants. Assembling groups online could make this process easier and also provide access to group members more representative of real-world work groups than the sample of college students that typically comprise lab Face-to-Face (FtF) groups. The main goal of this paper is to compare the decisions of online groups to those of FtF groups. We did so in a study that manipulated gain/loss framing of a risky decision between groups and examined the decisions of both individual group members and groups. All of these dependent measures are compared for an online and an FtF sample. Our results suggest that web-conferencing can be a substitute for FtF interaction in group decision-making research, as we found no moderation effects of communication medium on individual or group decision outcome variables. The effects of medium that were found suggest that the use of online groups may be the preferred method for group research. To wit, discussions among the online groups were shorter, but generated a greater number of thought units, i.e., they made more efficient use of time.
  • Public praise vs. private pay: Effects of rewards on energy conservation in the workplaceHandgraaf, M.J.J., Van Lidth de Jeude, M.A.., & Appelt, K.C. | Ecological Economics 86, 86-92, 2013-02-01 [+]
    Abstract: Any solution to rising levels of CO2 depends on human behavior. One common approach to changing human behavior is rewarding desired behavior. Because financial incentives often have side effects that diminish efficacy, we predict that more psychologically oriented social rewards are more effective, because they invoke adherence to descriptive and injunctive social norms. We investigated this by measuring electricity use for 13 weeks at a Dutch firm. Each week, employees were rewarded for conserving energy. They either received monetary rewards (€0-€5) or social rewards (grade points with a descriptive comment). Rewards were either private or public. In both the short and long term, public rewards outperformed private rewards, and social rewards outperformed monetary rewards. This suggests that private monetary rewards, although popular, may be ineffective. Instead, public social rewards may be a more promising approach to stimulating energy conservation. Such social rewards do not crowd out intrinsic motivation, have less need for large-scale institutions or exogenous funding, and work regardless of who is paying the energy bill. Thus, we argue that the social norms approach should be considered more frequently as a valuable tool in the intervention tool-kit, especially when focusing on low-cost environmental behavior.
  • Investigating ENSO and society relationshipsHansen, J., Lustig, A., Muñoz, A., Orlove, B., Thomson, M.C., Troy, T., Vaughan, C., Zebiak, S.E. | WIREs Climate Change, 2014-06-24 [+]
    Abstract: Throughout at least the past several centuries, El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has played a significant role in human response to climate. Over time, increased attention on ENSO has led to a better understanding of both the physical mechanisms, and the environmental and societal consequences of the phenomenon. The prospects for seasonal climate forecasting emerged from ENSO studies, and were first pursued in ENSO studies. In this paper, we review ENSO's impact on society, specifically with regard to agriculture, water, and health; we also explore the extent to which ENSO-related forecasts are used to inform decision making in these sectors. We find that there are significant differences in the uptake of forecasts across sectors, with the highest use in agriculture, intermediate use in water resources management, and the lowest in health. Forecast use is low in areas where ENSO linkages to climate are weak, but the strength of this linkage alone does not guarantee use. Moreover, the differential use of ENSO forecasts by sector shows the critical role of institutions that work at the boundary between science and society. In a long-term iterative process requiring continual maintenance, these organizations serve to enhance the salience, credibility, and legitimacy of forecasts and related climate services.
  • The Role of Climate Perceptions, Expectations, and Forecasts in Farmer Decision Making: The Argentine Pampas and South FloridaHansen, J., Marx, S. & Weber, E. | IRI Technical Report 04-01, 2004-11-01 [+]
    Introduction: Skillful seasonal climate forecasts reduce climatic uncertainty, but reduce livelihood risk to farmers only if the uncertainty associated with the forecast is accurately communicated and understood, and integrated into the decision process. Of the various determinants of application of seasonal forecast and resulting benefit to farmers, those related to content, communication and understanding are most under the influence of the forecast provider. Improved understanding of how target decision makers perceive and apply probabilistic climate information can inform the design of climate forecast information products and presentation protocols.
  • Good or bad, we want it now: Present bias for gains and losses explains magnitude asymmetries in intertemporal choiceHardisty, D. J., Appelt, K. C., & Weber, E. U. | Journal of Behavioral Decision Making., 2012-07-13 [+]
    Abstract: Intertemporal tradeoffs are ubiquitous in decision making, yet preferences for current versus future losses are rarely explored in empirical research. Whereas rational-economic theory posits that neither outcome sign (gains vs. losses) nor outcome magnitude (small vs. large) should affect delay discount rates, both do, and moreover, they interact: in three studies, we show that whereas large gains are discounted less than small gains, large losses are discounted more than small losses. This interaction can be understood through a reconceptualization of fixed-cost present bias, which has traditionally described a psychological preference for immediate rewards. First, our results establish present bias for losses—a psychological preference to have losses over with now. Present bias thus predicts increased discounting of future gains but decreased (or even negative) discounting of future losses. Second, because present bias preferences do not scale with the magnitude of possible gains or losses, they play a larger role, relative to other motivations for discounting, for small magnitude intertemporal decisions than for large magnitude intertemporal decisions. Present bias thus predicts less discounting of large gains than small gains but more discounting of large losses than small losses. The present research is the first to demonstrate that the effect of outcome magnitude on discount rates may be opposite for gains and losses and also the first to offer a theory (an extension of present bias) and process data to explain this interaction. The results suggest that policy efforts to encourage future-oriented choices should frame outcomes as large gains or small losses. 10.1002/bdm.1771
  • The Dominance of Dread over Savoring as an Account of the Sign Effect in DiscountingHardisty, D. J., Frederick, S., & Weber, E. U. (in revision)
  • About time: An integrative approach to effective environmental policyHardisty, D. J., Orlove, B., Krantz, D. H., Small, A., & Milch, K. (2012). | Global Environmental Change. , 2012-06-03 [+]
    Abstract: Intertemporal trade-offs are inherent in most choices, and are especially salient in environmental decisions. Although psychology, anthropology, and economics each offer unique insights and findings on the mental and social processes underlying the evaluation of future events, each discipline also has its blind spots. Crafting effective policy therefore requires an integration of these three perspectives; this paper offers a concise overview and guide, intended for applied researchers and policy makers. Through three real-world examples, the contributions and integration of the three disciplines are illustrated. Ideally, each perspective feeds into the others in an iterative process, producing an integrative approach that is more than the sum of its parts.10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2012.05.003
  • How to measure discount rates? An experimental comparison of three methodsHardisty, D. J., Thompson, K., Krantz, D. H., & Weber, E. U. | Judgment and Decision Making, 8(3), 236-249, 2013-05-01 [+]
    Abstract: In two studies, time preferences for financial gains and losses at delays of up to 50 years were elicited using three different methods: matching, fixed-sequence choice titration, and a dynamic “staircase” choice method. Matching was found to create fewer demand characteristics and to produce better fits with the hyperbolic model of discounting. The choice-based measures better predicted real-world outcomes such as smoking and payment of credit card debt. No consistent advantages were found for the dynamic staircase method over fixed-sequence titration.
  • Discounting future green: Money vs. the environmentHardisty, D., & Weber, E. U. | Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138(3), 329-340, 2009-08-01 [+]
    Abstract: In 3 studies, participants made choices between hypothetical financial, environmental, and health gains and losses that took effect either immediately or with a delay of 1 or 10 years. In all 3 domains, choices indicated that gains were discounted more than losses. There were no significant differences in the discounting of monetary and environmental outcomes, but health gains were discounted more and health losses were discounted less than gains or losses in the other 2 domains. Correlations between implicit discount rates for these different choices suggest that discount rates are influenced more by the valence of outcomes (gains vs. losses) than by domain (money, environment, or health). Overall, results indicate that when controlling as many factors as possible, at short to medium delays, environmental outcomes are discounted in a similar way to financial outcomes, which is good news for researchers and policy makers alike. 10.1037/a0016433
  • Diffusion of treatment research: Does open access matter?Hardisty, D.J., & Haaga, D. A. | Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64(7), 821-839., 2008-04-18 [+]
    Abstract: Advocates of the Open Access movement claim that removing access barriers will substantially increase the diffusion of academic research. If successful, this movement could play a role in efforts to increase utilization of psychotherapy research by mental health practitioners. In a pair of studies, mental health professionals were given either no citation, a normal citation, a linked citation, or a free access citation and were asked to find and read the cited article. After 1 week, participants read a vignette on the same topic as the article and gave recommendations for an intervention. In both studies, those given the free access citation were more likely to read the article, yet only in one study did free access increase the likelihood of making intervention recommendations consistent with the article.10.1002/jclp.20492
  • A Dirty Word or a Dirty World? Attribute Framing, Political Affiliation, and Query TheoryHardisty, D.J., Johnson, E. J., & Weber, E. U. | Psychological Science 21(1), 86-92, 2009-04-30 [+]
    Abstract: We explored the effect of attribute framing on choice, labeling charges for environmental costs as either an earmarked tax or an offset. Eight hundred ninety-eight Americans chose between otherwise identical products or services, where one option included a surcharge for emitted carbon dioxide. The cost framing changed preferences for self-identified Republicans and Independents, but did not affect Democrats’ preferences. We explain this interaction by means of query theory and show that attribute framing can change the order in which internal queries supporting one or another option are posed. The effect of attribute labeling on query order is shown to depend on the representations of either taxes or offsets held by people with different political affiliations.10.1177/0956797609355572
  • Modeling Interdependent RisksHeal, G., & Kunreuther, H. | Risk Analysis, 27(3), 621-634, 2007-06-01 [+]
    Abstract: In an interdependent world the risks faced by any one agent depend not only on its choices but also on those of all others. Expectations about others’ choices will influence investments in risk management and the outcome can be suboptimal for everyone. We model this as the Nash equilibrium of a game and give conditions for such a suboptimal equilibrium to be tipped to an optimal one. We also characterize the smallest coalition to tip an equilibrium, the minimum critical coalition, and show that this is also the cheapest critical coalition, so that there is no less expensive way to move the system from the suboptimal to the optimal equilibrium. We illustrate these results by reference to airline security and the control of infectious diseases via vaccination.10.1111/j.1539-6924.2007.00904.x
  • Tipping Climate Negotiations.Heal, G., and Kunreuther, H. | In R.W. Hahn, & Ulph, A. (Eds.), Climate Change and Common Sense: Essays in Honour of Tom Schelling (Chapter 4). Oxford University Press., 2012-02-01 [+]
    Abstract: Thinking about tipping provides a novel perspective on finding a way forward in climate negotiations and suggests an alternative to the current framework of negotiating a global agreement on reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Recent work on non-cooperative games shows games with increasing differences have multiple equilibria and have a “tipping set,” a subset of agents who by changing from the inefficient to the efficient equilibrium can induce all others to do the same. We argue that international climate negotiations may form such a game and so have a tipping set. This set is a small group of countries who by adopting climate control measures can make in the interests of all others to do likewise. Publisher's page
  • Index insurance and climate risk: Prospects for development and disaster management.Hellmuth M.E., Osgood D.E., Hess U., Moorhead A. and Bhojwani H. (eds) | Climate and Society No. 2. International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Columbia University, New York, USA, 2009-01-01
  • Index insurance and climate risk: Prospects for development and disaster management. (Annex)Hellmuth M.E., Osgood D.E., Hess U., Moorhead A. and Bhojwani H. (eds) | Climate and Society No. 2. International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Columbia University, New York, USA., 2010-10-01
  • National Difference in Environmental Concern and Performance Are Predicted by Country AgeHershfield, H., Bang, H.M., Weber, E.U. Psychological Science , 2013-11-21
  • Regulatory fit in the goal-pursuit process.Higgins, E. T. | In G. B. Moskowitz & H. Grant (Eds.), The Psychology of Goals (pp. 505-533). New York: Guilford Press., 2009-01-01
  • Global perceptions of local temperature changeHowe, P.D., Markowitz, E.M., Lee, T.M., Ko, C.Y., & Leiserowitz, A. | Nature Climate change, v. 2(12), , 12-12-16
  • The wisdom of crowds: Predicting a weather and climate-related eventHueffer, K., Fonseca, M.A., Leiserowitz, A., Taylor, K.M. | Journal of Judgment and Decision Making , 8(2), 91-105, 2013-03-01 [+]
    Abstract: Environmental uncertainty is at the core of much of human activity, ranging from daily decisions by individuals to long-term policy planning by governments. Yet, there is little quantitative evidence on the ability of non-expert individuals or populations to forecast climate-related events. Here we report on data from a 90-year old prediction game on a climate related event in Alaska: the Nenana Ice Classic (NIC). Participants in this contest guess to the nearest minute when the ice covering the Tanana River will break, signaling the start of spring. Previous research indicates a strong correlation between the ice breakup dates and regional weather conditions. We study betting decisions between 1955 and 2009. We find the betting distribution closely predicts the outcome of the contest. We also find a significant correlation between regional temperatures as well as past ice breakups and betting behavior, suggesting that participants incorporate both climate and historical information into their decision-making.
  • Understanding the causes and consequences of differential decision-making in adaptation research: Adapting to a delayed monsoon onset in Gujarat, IndiaJain, M., Naeem, S., Orlove, B., Modi, V. , DeFries, R.S. | Global Environmental Change, 31:98-109, 2015-03-01 [+]
    Abstract: Weather variability poses numerous risks to agricultural communities, yet farmers may be able to reduce some of these risks by adapting their cropping practices to better suit changes in weather. However, not all farmers respond to weather variability in the same way. To better identify the causes and consequences of this heterogeneous decision-making, we develop a framework that identifies (1) which socio-economic and biophysical factors are associated with heterogeneous cropping decisions in response to weather variability and (2) which cropping strategies are the most adaptive, considering economic outcomes (e.g., yields and profits). This framework aims to understand how, why, and how effectively farmers adapt to current weather variability; these findings, in turn, may contribute to a more mechanistic and predictive understanding of individual-level adaptation to future climate variability and change. To illustrate this framework, we assessed how 779 farmers responded to delayed monsoon onset in fifteen villages in Gujarat, India during the 2011 growing season, when the monsoon onset was delayed by three weeks. We found that farmers adopted a variety of strategies to cope with delayed monsoon onset, including increasing irrigation use, switching to more drought-tolerant crops, and/or delaying sowing. We found that farmers’ access to and choice of strategies varied with their assets, irrigation access, perceptions of weather, and risk aversion. Richer farmers with more irrigation access used high levels of irrigation, and this strategy was associated with the highest yields in our survey sample. Poorer farmers with less secure access to irrigation were more likely to push back planting dates or switch crop type, and economic data suggest that these strategies were beneficial for those who did not have secure access to irrigation. Interestingly, after controlling for assets and irrigation access, we found that cognitive factors, such as beliefs that the monsoon onset date had changed over the last 20 years or risk aversion, were associated with increased adaptation. Our framework illustrates the importance of considering the complexity and heterogeneity of individual decision-making when conducting climate impact assessments or when developing policies to enhance the adaptive capacity of local communities to future climate variability and change.
  • Single-Year and Multi-Year Insurance Policies in a Competitive MarketKleindorfer, P. R., Kunreuther, H., and Ou-Yang, C. | Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 45, 51-78, 2012-08-23 [+]
    Abstract: This paper examines the demand and supply of annual and multi-year insurance contracts with respect to protection against a catastrophic risk in a competitive market. Insurers who offer annual policies can cancel policies at the end of each year and change the premium in the following year. Multi-year insurance has a fixed annual price for each year and no cancellations are permitted at the end of any given year. Homeowners are identical with respect to their exposure to the hazard. Each homeowner determines whether or not to purchase an annual or multi-year contract so as to maximize her expected utility. The competitive equilibrium consists of a set of prices where homeowners who are not very risk averse decide to be uninsured. Other individuals demand either single-year or multi-year policies depending on their degree of risk aversion and the premiums charged by insurers for each type of policy. 10.1007/s11166-012-9148-2
  • Reconciling Innovation with Sustainability: A Psychologist's PerspectiveKrantz, D.H. | In Sachs, J. & Schlosser, P. (Eds.) Is Sustainability Feasible? (in press)
  • Goals and Plans in Decision MakingKrantz, D.H., & Kunreuther, H.C. | Judgement and Decision Making, 2(3), 137-168., 2007-06-03 [+]
    Abstract: We propose a constructed-choice model for general decision making. The model departs from utility theory and prospect theory in its treatment of multiple goals and it suggests several different ways in which context can affect choice. It is particularly instructive to apply this model to protective decisions, which are often puzzling. Among other anomalies, people insure against non-catastrophic events, underinsure against catastrophic risks, and allow extraneous factors to influence insurance purchases and other protective decisions. Neither expected-utility theory nor prospect theory can explain these anomalies satisfactorily. To apply this model to the above anomalies, we consider many different insurance-related goals, organized in a taxonomy, and we consider the effects of context on goals, resources, plans and decision rules. The paper concludes by suggesting some prescriptions for improving individual decision making with respect to protective measures.
  • Individual values and social goals in environmental decision making.Krantz, D.H., Peterson, N., Arora, P., Milch, K. & Orlove, B. | In Kugler, T., Smith, J.C., Connolly, T., & Son, Y.-J. (Eds.) Decision Modeling and Behavior in Uncertain and Complex Environments 21:165-198, 2008-01-01 [+]
  • Managing Catastrophic RiskKunreuther, H. and Heal, G. | Encyclopedia of Energy, Natural Resources and Environmental Economics, Elsevier, March 2013, 52-59, 2013-03-01 [+]
    Abstract: A principal reason that losses from catastrophic risks have been increasing over time is that more individuals and firms are locating in harm’s way while not taking appropriate protective measures. Several behavioural biases lead decision-makers not to invest in adaptation measures until after it is too late. In an interdependent world with no intervention by the public sector, it may be economically rational for those at risk not to invest in protective measures. Risk management strategies that involve private-public partnerships are thus crucial for addressing these issues and reducing future catastrophic losses. These may include multi-year insurance contracts, well-enforced regulations, third-party inspections, and alternative risk transfer instruments such as catastrophe bonds.
  • Reducing Losses from Catastrophes: Role of Insurance and Other Policy ToolsKunreuther, H. | Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Developement, 58:1, 30-37. DOI: 10.1080/00139157.2016.1112166, 2015-12-31
  • Integrated Risk and Uncertainty Assessment of Climate Change Response PoliciesKunreuther, H., Gupta, S., Bosetti, V., Cooke, R., Dutt, V., Ha‐Duong, M., Held,H., Llanes‐Regueiro, J., Patt, A., Shittu, E., Weber, E. | Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Assessment Report 5, Working Group 3, Chapter 2, 2014-04-12
  • Risk Management and Climate ChangeKunreuther, H., Heal, G., Allen, M., Edenhofer, O., Field, C.B., Yohe, G. | Nature Climate Change, (3), 447-450 [+]
    Abstract: The selection of climate policies should be an exercise in risk management reflecting the many relevant sources of uncertainty. Studies of climate change and its impacts rarely yield consensus on the distribution of exposure, vulnerability, or possible outcomes. Hence policy analysis cannot effectively evaluate alternatives using standard approaches such as expected utility theory and benefit-cost analysis. This perspective highlights the value of robust decision-making tools designed for situations, such as evaluating climate policies, where generally agreed-upon probability distributions are not available and stakeholders differ in their degree of risk tolerance. This broader risk management approach enables one to examine a range of possible outcomes and the uncertainty surrounding their likelihoods.
  • Overcoming Decision Biases to Reduce Losses from Natural CatastrophesKunreuther, H., Meyer, R., Michel-Kerjan, E. | In E. Shafir (Eds.), The Behavioral Foundations of Public Policy, Princeton University Press, 398, 2013-01-10
  • Insuring Future Climate CatastrophesKunreuther, H., Michel-Kerjan, E., Ranger, N. | Climatic Change, 118 (2), 339-354 [+]
    Abstract: The combined influences of a change in climate patterns and the increased concentration of property and economic activity in hazard-prone areas has the potential of restricting the availability and affordability of insurance. This paper evaluates the premiums that private insurers are likely to charge and their ability to cover residential losses against hurricane risk in Florida as a function of (a) recent projections on future hurricane activity in 2020 and 2040; (b) insurance market conditions (i.e., soft or hard market); (c) the availability of reinsurance; and (d) the adoption of adaptation measures (i.e., implementation of physical risk reduction measures to reduce wind damage to the structure and buildings). We find that uncertainties in climate projections translate into a divergent picture for insurance in Florida. Under dynamic climate models, the total price of insurance for Florida (assuming constant exposure) could increase significantly by 2040, from $12.9 billion (in 1990) to $14.2 billion, under hard market conditions. Under lower bound projections, premiums could decline to $9.4 billion by 2040. Taking a broader range of climate change scenarios, including several statistical ones, prices could be between $4.7 and $32.1 billion by 2040. The upper end of this range suggests that insurance could be unaffordable for many people in Florida. The adoption of most recent building codes for all residences in the state could reduce by nearly half the expected price of insurance so that even under high climate change scenarios, insurance premiums would be lower than under the 1990 baseline climate scenario. Under a full adaptation scenario, if insurers can obtain reinsurance, they will be able to cover 100 % of the loss if they allocated 10 % of their surplus to cover a 100-year return hurricane, and 63 % and 55 % of losses from a 250-year hurricane in 2020 and 2040. Property-level adaptation and the maintenance of strong and competitive reinsurance markets will thus be essential to maintain the affordability and availability of insurance in the new era of catastrophe risk.
  • Aiding decision-making to reduce the impacts of climate change." Journal of Consumer PolicyKunreuther, H., Weber, E. | Journal of Consumer Policy [+]
    Utilizing theory and empirical insights from psychology and behavioural economics, this paper examines individuals’ cognitive and motivational barriers to adopting climate change adaptation and mitigation measures that increase consumer welfare. We explore various strategies that take into account the simplified decision-making processes used by individuals and resulting biases. We make these points by working through two examples: (1) investments in energy efficiency products and new technology and (2) adaptation measures to reduce property damage from future floods and hurricanes. In both cases there is a reluctance to undertake these measures due to high and certain upfront costs, delayed and probabilistic benefits, and behavioural biases related to this asymmetry. The use of choice architecture through framing and the use of default options coupled with short-term incentives and long-term contracts can encourage greater investment in these measures.
  • Exploring associations between micro-level models of innovation diffusion and emerging macro-level adoption patternsLaciana, C. E., S. L. Rovere and G. P. Podestá | Physica A, (392), 1873-1884 [+]
    Abstract: A micro-level agent-based model of innovation diffusion was developed that explicitly combines (a) an individual's perception of the advantages or relative utility derived from adoption, and (b) social influence from members of the individual's social network. The micro-model was used to simulate macro-level diffusion patterns emerging from different configurations of micro-model parameters. Micro-level simulation results matched very closely the adoption patterns predicted by the widely-used Bass macro-level model (Bass, 1969 [1]). For a portion of the p q domain, results from micro-simulations were consistent with aggregate-level adoption patterns reported in the literature. Induced Bass macro-level parameters p and q responded to changes in microparameters: (1) p increased with the number of innovators and with the rate at which innovators are introduced; (2) q increased with the probability of rewiring in small-world networks, as the characteristic path length decreases; and (3) an increase in the overall perceived utility of an innovation caused a corresponding increase in induced p and q values. Understanding micro to macro linkages can inform the design and assessment of marketing interventions on microvariables ‒ or processes related to them ‒ to enhance adoption of future products or technologies.
  • Correcting expected utility for comparisons between alternative outcomes: A unified parameterization of regret and disappointment.Laciana, C.E., & Weber, E.U. | Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 36, 1-17, 2008-01-05 [+]
    Abstract: A unified parameterization of an expected utility model corrected for regret and disappointment effects is presented, constrained to conform to a wellknown choice pattern, the common consequence effect, a special case of the Allais paradox. For choices subject to regret and disappointment effects to be consistent with this choice pattern, the function that corrects the utility of the obtained outcome has to have a positive second derivative for its regret component and a negative second derivative for its disappointment component. These hypothesized functional forms make predictions about the relative effect that small vs. large differences between obtained and alternative outcomes should have on people’s experiences of regret or disappointment. 10.1007/s11166-007-9027-4
  • The MPG IllusionLarrick, R.P., & Soll, J.B. | Science, 320 (5883): 1593-1594., 2008-07-07 [+]
    Summary: Using "miles per gallon" as a measure of fuel efficiency leads people to undervalue the benefits of replacing the most inefficient automobiles. 10.1126/science.1154983
  • Predictors of public climate change awareness and risk perception around the worldLee, T.M., Markowitz, E.M., Howe, P.D., Ko, C., Leiserowitz, A.A. | Nature Climate Change, 2015-07-27 [+]
    Abstract: Climate change is a threat to human societies and natural ecosystems, yet public opinion research finds that public awareness and concern vary greatly. Here, using an unprecedented survey of 119 countries, we determine the relative influence of socio-demographic characteristics, geography, perceived well-being, and beliefs on public climate change awareness and risk perceptions at national scales. Worldwide, educational attainment is the single strongest predictor of climate change awareness. Understanding the anthropogenic cause of climate change is the strongest predictor of climate change risk perceptions, particularly in Latin America and Europe, whereas perception of local temperature change is the strongest predictor in many African and Asian countries. However, other key factors associated with public awareness and risk perceptions highlight the need to develop tailored climate communication strategies for individual nations. The results suggest that improving basic education, climate literacy, and public understanding of the local dimensions of climate change are vital to public engagement and support for climate action.
  • Florida Global Warming SurveyLeiserowitz, A. & Broad, K. | Project Report, 2008-01-01 [+]
    Abstract: The issue of climate change is increasingly being discussed in the media and within political circles. Around the globe actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are being taken at all levels of government. Florida is consistently identified as one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change due to its extensive urban development in low lying areas, the economic importance of tourism and agriculture, unique ecosystems and reliance on groundwater for human consumption. Only relatively recently have legislators proposed changes aimed at both reducing the production of greenhouse gases in Florida and promoting proactive measures to reduce vulnerability to what experts believe will be the inevitable impacts. The goal of this study is to measure the perceptions of Florida residents about the causes and consequences of climate change, and about potential solutions. The main findings are presented here and are intended to aid policymakers, educators, the private sector and environmental organizations in their planning efforts in response to climate change.
  • Alaskan Opinions on Global WarmingLeiserowitz, A. & Craciun, J. | Eugene: Decision Research, Report No. 06-10, 2006-01-01
  • Climate change risk perception and policy preferences: The role of affect, imagery, and valuesLeiserowitz, A. | Climatic Change, 77, 45-72, 2006 [+]
    Abstract: A national, representative survey of the U.S. public found that Americans have moderate climate change risk perceptions, strongly support a variety of national and international policies to mitigate climate change, and strongly oppose several carbon tax proposals. Drawing on the theoretical distinction between analytic and experiential decision-making, this study found that American risk perceptions and policy support are strongly influenced by experiential factors, including affect, imagery, and values, and demonstrates that public responses to climate change are influenced by both psychological and socio-cultural factors. 10.1007/s10584-006-9059-9
  • The international impact of the day after tomorrow.Leiserowitz, A. | Environment, 47(3), 41-44, 2005
  • Before and after The Day After Tomorrow: A U.S. study of climate change risk perception.Leiserowitz, A. | Environment, 46(9), 22-37, 2004-11-01
  • American risk perceptions: Is climate change dangerous?Leiserowitz, A. | Risk Analysis, 25(6), 1433-1442, 2005 [+]
    Abstract: Public risk perceptions can fundamentally compel or constrain political, economic, and social action to address particular risks. Public support or opposition to climate policies (e.g., treaties, regulations, taxes, subsidies) will be greatly influenced by public perceptions of the risks and dangers posed by global climate change. This article describes results from a national study (2003) that examined the risk perceptions and connotative meanings of global warming in the American mind and found that Americans perceived climate change as a moderate risk that will predominantly impact geographically and temporally distant people and places. This research also identified several distinct interpretive communities, including naysayers and alarmists, with widely divergent perceptions of climate change risks. Thus, “dangerous” climate change is a concept contested not only among scientists and policymakers, but among the American public as well. 10.1111/j.1540-6261.2005.00690.x
  • New York City Global Warming SurveyLeiserowitz, A., Shome, D., Marx, S., Hammer, S., & Broad, K. | Project Report, 2008-01-01
  • Value of perfect ENSO phase predictions for agriculture: evaluating the impact of land tenure and decision objectivesLetson, D., Laciana, C. , Bert, F. E., Weber, E.U., Katz, R. W., González, X. I., & Podestá, G. P. | Climatic Change, 97: 145-170. Doi: 10.1007/s10584-009-9600-8., 2009-05-06 [+]
    Abstract: In many places, predictions of regional climate variability associated with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation phenomenon offer the potential to improve farmers’ decision outcomes, by mitigating the negative impacts of adverse conditions or by taking advantage of favorable conditions. While the notion that climate forecasts are potentially valuable has been established, questions of when they may be more or less valuable have proven harder to resolve. Using simulations, we estimate the expected value of seasonal climate information under alternative assumptions about (a) land tenure (ownership vs. short-term leases) and (b) the decision maker’s objective function (expected utility vs. prospect theory value function maximization), employing a full range of plausible parameter values for each objective function. This allows us to show the extent to which the value of information depends on risk preferences, loss aversion, wealth levels and expectations, as well as situational constraints. Our results demonstrate in a non-laboratory decision context that, in some cases, psychologically plausible deviations from expected utility maximization can lead to substantial differences in estimates of the expected value of climate forecasts. Efforts to foster effective use of climate information and forecasts in agriculture must be grounded in a firm understanding of the goals, objectives and constraints of decision makers. 10.1007/s10584-009-9600-8
  • Social influence in groupsLevine, J. M., & Tindale, R. S. (in press) | In M. Mikulincer & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), J. Dovidio & J. Simpson (Assoc. Eds.), APA Handbook of personality and social psychology: Vol. 2. Interpersonal relations and group processes, Washington, DC: Amer
  • Inclusion and exclusion: Implications for group processes.Levine, J. M., & Kerr, N. L. | In A.W. Kruglanski & E.T. Higgins (Eds.) Social Psychology, Second Edition: Handbook of Basic Principles(pp.759-784). New York: Guilford., 2007
  • Self-control in groups.Levine, J. M., Alexander, K., & Hansen, T. | In R. Hassin, K. N. Ochsner, & Y. Trope (Eds.), Self control in society, mind, & brain. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press., 2010
  • Group cognition: Collective information search and distributionLevine, J. M., and Smith, E. (2013) | In D. Carlston (Ed.), Oxford handbook of social cognition. New York: Oxford University Press, Ch. 30 pp. 616-633., 2013-08-22
  • Local Warming: Daily Temperature Change Influences Belief in Global WarmingLi, Y., Johnson, E., Zaval, L. | Psychological Science, 22(4):454-459, 2011-04-01 [+]
    Abstract: Although people are quite aware of global warming, their beliefs about it may be malleable; specifically, their beliefs may be constructed in response to questions about global warming. Beliefs may reflect irrelevant but salient information, such as the current day’s temperature. This replacement of a more complex, less easily accessed judgment with a simple, more accessible one is known as attribute substitution. In three studies, we asked residents of the United States and Australia to report their opinions about global warming and whether the temperature on the day of the study was warmer or cooler than usual. Respondents who thought that day was warmer than usual believed more in and had greater concern about global warming than did respondents who thought that day was colder than usual. They also donated more money to a global-warming charity if they thought that day seemed warmer than usual. We used instrumental variable regression to rule out some alternative explanations. 10.1177/0956797611400913
  • Climate ethics at a multidisciplinary crossroads: four directions for future scholarshipMarkowitz, E. M., Grasso, M., Jamieson, D. Climatic Change, 130(3): 465-474, 2015-06-01 [+]
    Abstract: In recent years, the field of climate ethics has grown into a truly multidisciplinary endeavor. Climate ethics scholars are pursuing both normative and positive questions about climate change using many different approaches drawn from a wide diversity of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives. Now, the field stands at a multidisciplinary crossroads, delineated in large part by two interrelated considerations: what are the key research questions most in need of multidisciplinary attention and what can be done to move the insights and implications of climate ethics scholarship into real-world climate decision-making. Here, we identify four directions for near-future climate ethics research that we believe are both in need of further examination and likely to be of interest to a diverse coalition of decision-makers working “on the ground”: geoengineering; scope of ethical consideration; responsibility of actors; and, hazards, vulnerabilities and impacts. Regardless of the specific questions they choose to pursue, multidisciplinary climate ethics researchers should strive to conduct accessible and actionable research that both answers the questions decision-makers are already asking as well as helps shape those questions to make decision-making processes more inclusive and ethically-grounded.
  • Decision making under climate uncertainty: The power of understanding judgment and decision processes.Marx, S.M. & Weber, E.U. | In T. Dietz & D.C. Bidwell (Eds.), Climate Change in the Great Lakes. MSU Press (Chapter 5: 99-128), 2012-04-15 [+]
    Abstract: People living in the Great Lakes region are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. Shifts in seasonal temperatures and precipitation patterns could have dramatic impacts on the economy, ecology, and quality of life. In this illuminating and thorough volume, leading scholars address the challenge of preparing for climate change in the region, where decision makers from various sectors — government, agriculture, recreation, and tourism — must increasingly be aware of the need to incorporate climate change into their short- and long-term planning. The chapters in this revealing book, written by some of the foremost climate change scholars in North America, outline the major trends in the climate of the Great Lakes region, how humans might cope with the uncertainty of climate change impacts, and examples of on-the-ground projects that have addressed these issues. 1611860121
  • Communication and mental processes: Experiential and analytic processing of uncertain climate informationMarx, S.M., Weber, E.U., Orlove, B.S., Leiserowitz, A., Krantz, D.H., Roncoli, C., & Phillips, J. | Global Environmental Change, 17(1), 47-58, 2007-02-01 [+]
    Abstract: People process uncertainty information in two qualitatively different systems. Most climate forecast communications assume people process information analytically. Yet people also rely heavily on an experiential processing system. Better understanding of experiential processing may lead to more comprehensible risk communication products. Retranslation of statistical information into concrete (vicarious) experience facilitates intuitive understanding of probabilistic information and motivates contingency planning. Sharing vicarious experience in group discussions or simulations of forecasts, decisions, and outcomes provides a richer and more representative sample of relevant experience. The emotional impact of the concretization of abstract risks motivates action in ways not provided by an analytic understanding. 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2006.10.004
  • Catalyzing frontiers in water-climate-society research: A view from early career scientists and junior faculty.McNeeley, S. M., Tessendorf, S. A., Lazrus, H., Heikkila, T., Ferguson, I. M., Arrigo, S. J., Attari, S. Z., Cianfrani, C. M., Dilling, L., Gurdak, J. J., Kampf, S. K., Kauneckis, D., Kirchhoff, C. J., Lee, J., Litner, B. R., Mahoney, K. M., Opitz-Staplet, 2012-04-01 [+]
    Introduction: Changes in the availability and distribution of water have substantial effects on humans and the ecosystems upon which we depend. While we have always experienced variability in the availability of water across a variety of time scales, anthropogenic climate change will likely bring substantial additional effects on water cycles and water resource management, such as changes in timing, amount, and patterns of precipitation; decreasing snow packs; enhanced droughts; and more frequent and intense floods and storms, among others. The scientific community faces the challenge of helping societies plan for climate and water uncertainties in the context of complex and changing socioenvironmental processes such as multiple and competing water demands, population growth, land-use changes, and energy extraction and production. Meeting this challenge requires utilizing the strengths of diverse disciplines and working in synergistic collaboration with key stakeholders. 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00221.1
  • Dynamic Simulation as an Approach to Understanding Hurricane Risk Response: Insights from the Stormview LabMeyer, R., Broad, K., Orlove, B., Petrovic. N., (2013) | Risk Analysis 33(8): 1532-1552, 2013-08 [+]
    Abstract: This article investigates the use of dynamic laboratory simulations as a tool for studying decisions to prepare for hurricane threats. A prototype web-based simulation named Stormview is described that allows individuals to experience the approach of a hurricane in a computer-based environment. In Stormview participants can gather storm information through various media, hear the opinions of neighbors, and indicate intentions to take protective action. We illustrate how the ability to exert experimental control over the information viewed by participants can be used to provide insights into decision making that would be difficult to gain from field studies, such as how preparedness decisions are affected by the nature of news coverage of prior storms, how a storm's movement is depicted in graphics, and the content of word-of-mouth communications. Data from an initial application involving a sample of Florida residents reveal a number of unexpected findings about hurricane risk response. Participants who viewed forecast graphics, which contained track lines depicting the most likely path of the storm, for example, had higher levels of preparation than those who saw graphics that showed only uncertainty cones-even among those living far from the predicted center path. Similarly, the participants who were most likely to express worry about an approaching storm and fastest to undertake preparatory action were those who, ironically, had never experienced one. Finally, external validity is evidenced by a close rank-order correspondence between patterns of information use revealed in the lab and that found in previous cross-sectional field studies.
  • The Dynamics of Hurricane Risk Perception: Real-Time Evidence from the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane SeasonMeyer, R.J., Baker, J., Broad, K., Czajkowski, J., Orlove, B. | Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 95: 1389–1404, 2014-09-01 [+]
    Abstract: Findings are reported from two field studies that measured the evolution of coastal residents’ risk perceptions and preparation plans as two hurricanes—Isaac and Sandy--- were approaching the United States coast during the 2012 hurricane season. The data suggest that residents threatened by such storms had a poor understanding of the threat posed by the storms; they over-estimated the likelihood that their homes would be subject to hurricane-force wind conditions, but under-estimated the potential damage that such winds could cause, and they misconstrued the greatest threat as coming from wind rather than water. These misperceptions translated into preparation actions that were not well commensurate with the nature and scale of the threat they faced, with residents being well prepared for a modest wind event of short duration but not for a significant wind-and-water catastrophe. Possible causes of the biases and policy implications for improving hurricane warning communication are discussed.
  • Catastrophe risk models for evaluating disaster risk reduction investments in developing countriesMichel-Kerjan, E., Hochrainer-Stigler, S., Kunreuther, H., Linnerooth-Bayer, J., Mechler, R., Muir-Wood, R., Ranger, N., Vaziri, P., Young, M. | Risk Analysis , 33(6), pp. 447-450, 2012-12-12 [+]
    Major natural disasters in recent years have had high human and economic costs, and triggered record high postdisaster relief from governments and international donors. Given the current economic situation worldwide, selecting the most effective disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures is critical. This is especially the case for low- and middle-income countries, which have suffered disproportionally more economic and human losses from disasters. This article discusses a methodology that makes use of advanced probabilistic catastrophe models to estimate benefits of DRR measures. We apply such newly developed models to generate estimates for hurricane risk on residential structures on the island of St. Lucia, and earthquake risk on residential structures in Istanbul, Turkey, as two illustrative case studies. The costs and economic benefits for selected risk reduction measures are estimated taking account of hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. We conclude by emphasizing the advantages and challenges of catastrophe model-based cost-benefit analyses for DRR in developing countries.
  • From individual preference construction to group decisions: Framing effects and group processes.Milch, K. F., Weber, E. U., Appelt, K. C., Handgraaf, M. J. J., & Krantz, D. H. | Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 108(2), 242-255. , 2009-01-13 [+]
    Abstract: Two choice tasks known to produce framing effects in individual decisions were used to test group sensitivity to framing, relative to that of individuals, and to examine the effect of prior, individual consideration of a decision on group choice. Written post-decision reasons and pre-decision group discussions were analyzed to investigate process explanations of choices made by preexisting, naturalistic groups. For a risky choice problem, a similar framing effect was observed for groups and individuals. For an intertemporal choice task where consumption was either delayed or accelerated, naïve groups (whose members had not preconsidered the decision) showed a framing effect, less discounting in the delay frame, opposite to that observed in individuals. Predecided groups showed a non-significant effect in the other, expected direction. In all cases, process measures better explained variability in choices across conditions than frame alone. Implications for group decision research and design considerations for committee decisions are addressed. 10.1016/j.obhdp.2008.11.003
  • Climate-based estimation of hydrologic inflow into Lake Okeechobee, Florida.Miralles-Wilhelm, F., Trimble, P.J., Podestá, G., Letson, D., & Broad, K. | Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 131(5), 394-401, 2005 [+]
    Abstract: This paper presents a comparative evaluation of methods for climate-based estimation of the net inflow rate into Lake Okeechobee, Fla. The estimated net inflow rate is used by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to support the management and operations of the Lake Okeechobee hydrologic system. The first method evaluated in this paper (Croley) uses rainfall outlooks provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) to calculate a weighed average of historical inflow values for each month. The second method evaluated in this paper (SFWMD Empirical) uses a linear regression on statistics of historical data to predict the net inflow rate. These two methods were developed and have been used operationally by the SFWMD since 2000. Three new methods are presented and comparatively evaluated to gauge their ability in estimating net inflow rates. The first two of these methods are based on CPC issued forecasts in decile probability density format. The remaining method is based on a subsampling technique for “peer” wet∕dry years in the historical record and is found to yield better results in a retrospective analysis. For extreme climatic events on the historical record, CPC rainfall outlooks are found not to yield a large enough shift in probabilities for forecasts to match observed net inflow rates; this is especially noticeable during El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Recommendations are made for potential improvements to climate-based net inflow rate estimation methods, particularly in regard to their ability to reproduce observed results for net inflow into Lake Okeechobee in the presence of an extreme climatic event, as well as over an extended climatological period. 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9496(2005)131:5(394)
  • Measuring Social Value OrientationMurphy, R.O., Ackermann, K.A. and Handgraaf, M. | Judgment and Decision Making 6(8):771-781. , 2011-12-01 [+]
    Abstract: Narrow self-interest is often used as a simplifying assumption when studying people making decisions in social contexts. Nonetheless, people exhibit a wide range of different motivations when choosing unilaterally among interdependent outcomes. Measuring the magnitude of the concern people have for others, sometimes called Social Value Orientation (SVO), has been an interest of many social scientists for decades and several different measurement methods have been developed so far. Here we introduce a new measure of SVO that has several advantages over existent methods. A detailed description of the new measurement method is presented, along with norming data that provide evidence of its solid psychometric properties. We conclude with a brief discussion of the research streams that would benefit from a more sensitive and higher resolution measure of SVO, and extend an invitation to others to use this new measure which is freely available. Publisher's page
  • Expertise in an Age of Polarization: Evaluating Scientists’ Political Awareness and Communication BehaviorsNisbet, M.C., Markowitz, E. | The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 658(1), 136-154, 2015-03-01 [+]
    Abstract: During the George W. Bush administration, intense debate focused on the administration’s interference with the work of government scientists. In this study, analyzing a May/June 2009 survey of members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), we evaluate the factors during this period that influenced scientists’ awareness of political interference and their media outreach and communication activities. Controlling for demographic and professional-level influences, those members who were more liberal in their political outlook, who were frequent blog readers, and who felt strongly about global warming were substantially more likely to have heard “a lot” about political interference. However, neither ideology, partisanship, nor opinion-intensity were predictive of the various media and communication behaviors assessed. Instead, the strongest predictor was the belief that media coverage was important for an individual’s career advancement. Implications for evaluating the expert community’s participation in future political debates are discussed.
  • Evidence of Demand for Index Insurance: Experimental Games and Commercial Transactions in EthiopiaNorton, M., Osgood, D., Madajewiczb, M., Holthaus, E., Peterson, N., Diroa, R., Mullally, C., Tehg, T., & Gebremichaelh, M., | The Journal of Development Studies , 2014-02-20 [+]
    Abstract: We present results of experimental games with smallholder farmers in Tigray, Ethiopia, in 2010, in which participants in the games allocated money across risk management options. One of the options was index insurance that was the same as commercial products sold locally. Participants exhibited clear preferences for insurance contracts with higher frequency payouts and for insurance over other risk management options, including high interest savings. The preference for higher frequency payouts is mirrored in commercial sales of the product, with commercial purchasers paying substantially higher premiums than the minimal, low frequency option available. This combined evidence challenges claims that the very poor universally choose minimal index insurance coverage and supports concerns that demand may outpace supply of responsible insurance products.
  • Are we willing to give what it takes? Willingness to pay for climate change adaptation in developing countriesO'Garra, T & Mourato, S | Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, 2015-10-26
  • Water Sustainability: Anthropological Approaches & Prospects.Orlove, B. & Caton, S.C. | Annual Review of Anthropology, 39 401-15, 2010-10-01 [+]
    Abstract: Water has become an urgent theme in anthropology as the worldwide need to provide adequate supplies of clean water to all people becomes more challenging. Anthropologists contribute by seeing water not only as a resource, but also as a substance that connects many realms of social life. They trace the different forms of valuing water, examine the often unequal distribution of water, explore the rules and institutions that govern water use and shape water politics, and study the multiple, often conflicting knowledge systems through which actors understand water. They offer ethnographic insights into key water sites—watersheds, water regimes, and waterscapes—found in all settings, though with widely varying characteristics. Anthropologists provide a critical examination of a concept called integrated water resource management (IWRM), which has become hegemonic in the global discourse of sustainable development.
  • The past, the present & some possible futures of adaptation.Orlove, B. | In Adger, W.N., Lorenzoni, I. & O'Brien, K. (Eds.) Adapting to climate change: thresholds, values, governance. Cambridge University Press, (pp. 131-163), 2009-06-01 [+]
    Summary: Adapting to climate change is a critical problem facing humanity. This involves reconsidering our lifestyles, and is linked to our actions as individuals, societies and governments. This book presents top science and social science research on whether the world can adapt to climate change. Written by experts, both academics and practitioners, it examines the risks to ecosystems, demonstrating how values, culture and the constraining forces of governance act as barriers to action. As a review of science and a holistic assessment of adaptation options, it is essential reading for those concerned with responses to climate change, especially researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and graduate students. Significant features include historical, contemporary, and future insights into adaptation to climate change; coverage of adaptation issues from different perspectives: climate science, hydrology, engineering, ecology, economics, human geography, anthropology and political science; and contributions from leading researchers and practitioners from around the world.
  • Recognitions and Responsibilities: On the Origins of the Uneven Attention to Climate Change around the WorldOrlove, B., Lazrus, H., Hovelsrud, G.K., Giannini, A. | Current Anthropology , 55(3), pp. 249-275., 2014-06-01 [+]
    Abstract: Though climate change is a global process, current discussions emphasize its local impacts. A review of media representations, public opinion polls, international organization documents, and scientific reports shows that global attention to climate change is distributed unevenly, with the impacts of climate change seen as an urgent concern in some places and less pressing in others. This uneven attention, or specificity, is linked to issues of selectivity (the inclusion of some cases and exclusion of others), historicity (the long temporal depth of the pathways to inclusion or exclusion), and consequentiality (the effects of this specificity on claims of responsibility for climate change). These issues are explored through a historical examination of four cases—two (the Arctic, low-lying islands) strongly engaged with climate change frameworks, and two (mountains, deserts) closely associated with other frameworks of sustainable development rather than climate change. For all four regions, the 1960s and 1970s were a key period of initial involvement with environmental issues; the organizations and frameworks that developed at that time shaped the engagement with climate change issues. In turn, the association of climate change with a few remote areas influences climate change institutions and discourses at a global scale.
  • Environmental citizenship in Latin America. Climate, Intermediate Organizations and Political Subjects.Orlove, B., Taddei, R., Podestá, G., Broad, K. | Latin American Research Review 46: 115-140, 2011-01-01 [+]
    Abstract: In recent decades, the impacts of climate on society and on human well-being have attracted increasing amounts of attention, and the forecasts that predict such impacts have become more accurate. Forecasts are now distributed and used more widely than they were in the past. This article reviews three cases of such use of forecasts in Latin America. It shows that in all cases, the users are concentrated in particular sectors and regions (agriculture in the Argentine pampas, fisheries on the Peruvian coast, water resources in northeastern Brazil) and that the forecasts are distributed not by government agencies but by intermediate organizations—semistatal organizations or nongovernmental organizations. It draws on the concept of environmental citizenship to discuss these cases and assesses them for such attributes of citizenship as equity, transparency, accountability, and promotion of collective goals. It traces the implications of these cases for the current era of global warming. 10.1353/lar.2011.0034
  • Glacier retreat: Reviewing the limits of human adaptation to climate change.Orlove, B.S. | Environment, 51(3), 2, 2010-08-07 [+]
    Introduction: T he world’s mountains bear many glaciers, somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 by current estimates. Nearly all are shrinking. As temperatures increase, the massive banks of ice on mountain summits melt much faster than they did in the past. The fresh snows that fall each year cannot make up for this loss, and the glaciers retreat upslope and grow smaller. A recent review of glaciers around the world shows that the average loss of length is about 10 meters (m) per year, and this pace is accelerating in many regions (see Figure 1 below). 10.3200/ENVT.51.3.22-34
  • Indigenous climate knowledge in Southern Uganda: the multiple components of a dynamic regional system.Orlove, B.S., Roncoli, C., Kabugo, M., & Majugu, A. | Climatic Change: Special Issue on Indigenous Knowledge, 100:243–265., 2009-04-23 [+]
    Abstract: Farmers in southern Uganda seek information to anticipate the interannual variability in the timing and amount of precipitation, a matter of great importance to them since they rely on rain-fed agriculture for food supplies and income. The four major components of their knowledge system are: (1) longstanding familiarity with the seasonal patterns of precipitation and temperature, (2) a set of local traditional climate indicators, (3) observation of meteorological events, (4) information about the progress of the seasons elsewhere in the region. We examine these components and show the connections among them. We discuss the social contexts in which this information is perceived, evaluated, discussed and applied, and we consider the cultural frameworks that support the use of this information. This system of indigenous knowledge leads farmers to participate as agents as well as consumers in programs that use modern climate science to plan for and adapt to climate variability and climate change. 10.1007/s10584-009-9586-2
  • The Place of Glaciers in Natural and Cultural Landscapes (Chapter 1).Orlove, B.S., Wiegandt, E., & Luckman, B. | In Orlove, B.S., Wiegandt, E., & Luckman, B. (Eds.) Darkening Peaks: Glacier Retreat, Science and Society. Berkeley: University of California Press., 2008-02-01 [+]
  • Darkening Peaks: Glacial Retreat, Science and Society.Orlove, B.S., Wiegandt, E., & Luckman, B.H. (Eds.), Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008-02-01 [+]
    Description: Looking up at mountains, people now see bare, dark rock where white snow and ice once stood—dramatic evidence of the accelerating pace of glacier retreat due to climate change. This groundbreaking work is the first to provide an integrated, multidisciplinary, global exploration of the scientific, social, and economic dimensions of this phenomenon. Bringing together contributors from five continents, Darkening Peaks discusses the ways that scientists have observed and modeled glaciers, tells how climate change is altering their size and distribution, and looks closely at their effect on human life. ISBN: 9780520253056
  • Signs and sight in Southern Uganda:Representing perception in ordinary conversationOrlove, B.S.,& Kabugo, M. | Etnofoor, 18(1), 124-141, 2005
  • Designing Weather Insurance Contracts for Farmers in Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya, Final Report to the Commodity Risk Management Group, ARD, World Bank.Osgood, D., McLaurin, M., Carriquiry, M., Mishra, A., Fiondella, F., Hansen, J., Peterson, N., & Ward, N. | IRI Technical Report 07-02 [+]
    Introduction: I n this report, we describe our project products to World Bank’s Commodity Risk Management Group (CMRG) in the development and evaluation of index insurance contracts for smallholder farmers in Malawi, Tanzania, and Kenya. The development of some products we are providing was supported at no cost by the NSF-funded Center for Research on Environmental Decisions. Index-insurance is one type of weather risk management that has recently developed as a potential tool to reduce weather risk in agriculture. While traditional insurance insures against crop failure (actual loss), index insurance insures for a specific event or risk, such as rainfall deficits (Skees 1999). Thus, the index insurance removes one or more production risks, but does not account for the loss itself. This method addresses two problems associated with traditional crop insurance: moral hazard (where farmers have incentive to let their crops fail in order to receive a payout) and adverse selection (where those farmers less skilled at farming purchase the insurance, resulting in higher premium levels and more frequent payouts). Since the index insurance only covers a specific risk, it only provides partial protection and is therefore only one part of a complete risk management package. The index insurance also becomes a more affordable option, in that there is no need for in-field assessment of damage, as damage is able to be tracked by weather data directly (in the case of rainfall, a rain gauge would be the device used).
  • An economic analysis of climate adaptations to hurricane risk in St. LuciaOu-Yang, C., Kunreuther, H., Michel-Kerjan, E| The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice , 38(3), pp. 521-546, 2014-04-24 [+]
    We introduce a catastrophic risk model that captures the cumulative impact of climate change on future expected losses from hurricane risk. The annual growth rates of expected losses due to change in climate patterns (or “climate change factor”) are estimated based upon historical storm activities in the Atlantic Basin and catastrophe modelling. The percentiles of the climate change factor are then used to measure expected hurricane losses in the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia. We also undertake benefit-cost analyses on four adaptation measures for homes in St. Lucia and determine when those are cost-effective for different time horizons and discount rates with and without climate change. Adaptation makes an enormous difference and can offset additional losses even with a high climate change factor by making houses much more resilient. Enforcing these protection measures will be critical.
  • Perceptions and communication strategies for the many uncertainties relevant for climate policyPatt, Anthony G., Weber, E.U. | WIREs Climate Change , 2013-10-18 [+]
    Abstract: Public opinion polls reveal that the perception of climate change as an uncertain phenomenon is increasing, even as consensus has increased within the scientific community of its reality and its attribution to human causes. At the same time, the scientific community has sought to improve its communication practices, in order to present a more accurate picture to the public and policy makers of the state of scientific knowledge about climate change. In this review article, we examine two sets of insights that could influence the success of such communication efforts. The first set questions which uncertainties matter for effective climate policy. While the literature has focused disproportionately on uncertainties with respect to the climate system, we draw attention here to uncertainties associated with the solution space. The second set examines which factors lead people to take slow and deliberated decisions versus quick and spontaneous ones, and looks at the results of these two systems of thought on climate change action. From the review of these two sets of literature, we propose a new hypothesis: that the gap between public and scientific attitudes toward climate change will narrow not because of greater attention to and communication of climate system risks and uncertainties, but rather out of growing experience with the policies and technological systems needed to address the problem.
  • Choices, Options, and Constraints: Decisions in Natural Resource Management.Peterson, N | Human Organization 69(1):54-64
  • Participatory approaches to sustainability.Peterson, N. & Broad, K. | In Sachs, J. & Schlosser, P. (Eds.) Is Sustainability Feasible? (in press)
  • Excluding to include: (Non)participation in Mexican natural resource management.Peterson, N. | Agriculture and Human Values, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 99-107 [+]
    Abstract: Participatory processes are often intended to encourage inclusion of multiple perspectives in defining management means and goals. However, ideas about the legitimacy of certain uses and users of the resources can often lead to exclusion from participation. In this way, participation can be transformed from a process of inclusion of various resource users to one of exclusion. Using a case study from a marine protected area in Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico, and drawing on work in deliberative democracy, I present a typology of how individuals and groups can be excluded from participation. External exclusion includes non-invitation and other means for keeping participation from occurring. Internal exclusion refers to exclusionary events during participatory meetings. This analysis suggests that participation needs to be recognized as a valuable but easily manipulated tool in the design of projects like natural resource management.
  • Developing climate adaptation: The intersection of climate research and development programmes in index insurance,Peterson, N. | Development and Change, 43(2): 557-584. , 2012-04-16 [+]
    Abstract: Using a case study from Ethiopia, this article examines the ways in which climate information and economic development interact in climate adaptation programmes. Microinsurance programmes have become very popular as an adaptation strategy but there has been little attention paid to the social, economic and political aspects of implementation. Examining one case in relation to the broader literature on climate adaptation projects suggests that greater attention needs to be paid to existing coping strategies, introduction of additional market risks, local capacity building and the socio-political context of implementation. Climate change cannot be viewed as a technical problem only; it has a social dimension as well. 10.1111/j.1467-7660.2012.01767.x
  • Index insurance games in Adi Ha Tabia, Tigray Regional State, Ethiopia.Peterson, N., & Mullally, C. | Report to Oxfam America, Boston, USA (published in print) , 2009-01-01
  • Climate and Weather Discourse in Anthropology: From Determinism to Uncertain Futures.Peterson, N., & Broad, K. | In Crate, S. & Nutall, M. (Eds.) Anthropology and Climate Change: From Encounters to Actions, Left Coast Press: Walnut Creek, CA, 2009-01-01 [+]
    Introduction: Global climate change has become an increasingly visible topic in public culture over the past few decades, and will likely dominate environmental, political, and social agendas for some time to come. Only in the last few years has a critical mass of anthropologists begun to focus on the social practices and cultural implications surrounding the production of climate change models and scenarios, the communication and interpretation of climate information, climate change causes and solutions, and the implications of its impacts for people worldwide. ISBN 978-1-59874-334-0
  • Participatory processes and climate forecast use: sociocultural context, discussion, and consensusPeterson, N., Broad, K., Orlove, B.S., Roncoli, C., Taddei, R., & Velez, M.A. | Climate and Development. Vol. 2: 14-29, 2010-06-08 [+]
    Abstract: Participatory processes are increasingly promoted by various groups as among the best approaches to increase efficiency, democracy and equity in decisions involving climate forecasts. Yet little is understood about the interaction between participation and its surrounding socio-cultural environment in the context of the dissemination and use of climate forecasts. This article draws on two case studies: water allocation choices in Brazil and agricultural decision making in Uganda. The focus is on two under-studied aspects of participatory processes: (1) the social norms of interactions that affect activity and outcomes through exclusion, pre-meetings, alliances, language and non-linguistic events; and (2) the diversity of goals and outcomes that motivate participation, including desire for consensus, social networking and community building. These norms and goals often result in behaviours and outcomes unanticipated by the promoters. We argue that the influence of socio-cultural context on the process is not only an unavoidable characteristic of participation, but also what makes it possible in the first place, bringing meaning and purpose to the activity for many participants.10.3763/cdev.2010.0033
  • Motivating mitigation: when health matters more than climate changePetrovic, N., Madrigano, J., Zaval, L. | Climatic Change 126, pp. 245–254, 2014-07-27
  • Cleaning, Protecting, or Abating? Making Indigenous Fire Management “Work” in Northern AustraliaPetty, A.M., deKoninck, V., Orlove, B. | Journal of Ethnobiology , 35(1), 140-162, 2015-03-01 [+]
    Abstract: Kakadu National Park in northern Australia was one of the first jointly managed parks in the world, and offers an important case study of how public institutions and indigenous communities interact in the management of landscapes. In the 1990s, an extensive fire management program was instituted in Kakadu. The aim of this program was to shift the timing of fires from the late dry season to the early dry season, a pattern that on its surface more closely reflects precontact Aboriginal fire patterns. Despite broad success in this fire regime shift, Kakadu has come under particularly intense criticism from local Aboriginal communities, as well as the conservation sector and the wider public, for failures in fire management. These perceived failures are, however, assumed to be a feature of Kakadu specifically, rather than early season burning generally. Consequently, the model of extensive fire management in the early dry season continues to be a key goal for Aboriginal-owned lands across northern Australia, with early-burning projects that derive funding tied to reduced net carbon emissions now emerging as the most promising potential for reinstating indigenous fire management in northern Australia. We argue, however, that these new emissions-reducing programs run the risk of following the same fraught path of dissatisfaction and disassociation as Kakadu, because it is inherent in the nature of institutionalized management programs to replace the complexity and contingency of indigenous fire management with standardized goals. In so doing, such programs treat indigenous people as workers executing plans developed by others rather than as genuine partners in the design and implementation of management programs.
  • Unequal Information, Unequal Allocation: Bargaining Field Experiments in NE BrazilPfaff, A., Velez, M.A., Taddei, R., Broad., K. | Environmental Science & Policy, (26), 90-101 [+]
    Abstract: We assess how unequal information affects the bargaining within resource allocation, a stakeholder interaction that is critical for climate adaptation within the water sector. Motivated by water allocation among unequal actors in NE Brazil, within Ceara´ State, we employ ‘ultimatum’ field experiments in which one participant lacks information. We find that, despite having veto power,the less informed are vulnerable to inequity. When all are informed, we see a typical resource split (60% initiator–40% responder) that balances an initiator’s advantage witha responder’s willingness to punishgreed.Wheninstead responders have only a resource forecast upon which to base decisions, the fully informed initiators get 80% of resources for conditions of resource scarcity. Thus, despite each of the stakeholder types having an unquestioned ‘seat atthe table’, information asymmetries make bargaining outcomes more unequal. Our results are widely relevant for adaptation involving the joint use of information, and suggest that equity can rise with dissemination of scientific outputs that are integral in adaptation.
  • Efficiency and Equity in Negotiated Resource Transfers: contributions and limitations of trust with limited contracts.Pfaff, A., and M.A. Velez. | Ecological Economics, Volume 74, Pages 55-63, 2011-12-27 [+]
    Abstract: We consider a case of water reallocation in Brazil, one which has numerous analogs elsewhere. To permit empirical study of the effects of institutions that can facilitate or restrict allocations, we conducted field experiments to explore trust's potential when resource contracts are limited, using a novel asymmetric-productivity ultimatum game with a final surplus-sharing step added. As a form of informal institution, trust could in principle make rights and contracts unnecessary. We observe whether trust in compensation is in fact expected and expressed. We also explore whether trust is exploited, and the effect of communication, within our two bargaining structures: (1) no communication; and (2) with a non-binding message concerning the surplus to be shared. We see that our participants both expect and express trust that some of the surplus will be shared. Trust raises total output and some surplus is indeed shared: those who trust gain a bit on average; and the more trust was shown, the more was shared. However, often the trust was barely repaid. Further, the messages—found to help in other research—had little impact and were often untrue. In sum, trust does matter but both efficiency and equity could well rise with complete contracts.
  • Interdisciplinary Production of Knowledge with Participation of Stakeholders: A Case Study of a Collaborative Project on Climate Variability, Human Decisions and Agricultural Ecosystems in the Argentine PampasPodestá, G. P., C. E. Natenzon, C. Hidalgo and Fernando Ruiz Toranzo | Environmental Science and Policy, (26), 40-48, 2013-02-01 [+]
    Abstract: There is a growing perception that science is not responding adequately to the global challenges of the 21st century. Addressing complicated, ‘‘wicked’’ current and future environmental issues requires insights and methods from many disciplines. Furthermore, to reach social robustness in a context of uncertainty and multiple values and objectives, participation of relevant social actors is required. As a consequence, interdisciplinary research teams with stakeholder or practitioner involvement are becoming an emerging pattern for the organization of integrative scientific research or integrated assessments. Nevertheless, still there is need to learn from actual experiences that bring together decision makers and scholars from different disciplines.Thispaperdraws lessons from a self-reflective study of the collaborative process in two interdisciplinary, multi-institutional,multinational research teams addressing linkages between climate variability, human decisions and agricultural ecosystems in the Argentine Pampas. During project design, attention must be placed on team composition, ensuring not only that the needed talents are included, but also recruiting investigators with an open attitude toward interdisciplinary interaction. As the project begins, considerable effort must be dedicated to shared problem definition and development of a common language. Simple conceptual models and considerable redundancy in communication are helpful. As a project evolves, diverging institutiona lincentives, tensions between academic publication and outreach or policy-relevant outputs, disciplinary biases, and personality issues play increasingly important roles. Finally,toward a project’s end the challenge arises of assessing interdisciplinary, integrative work. The lack of consensus on criteria for assessment of results is often ranked as a major practical difficulty of this kind of research. Despite many efforts to describe and characterize collaborative research on complex problems, conditions for success (including the very definition of‘‘success’’) remain to be rigorously grounded on actual cases. Toward this goal, we argue that a self-reflective process to identify and intervene on factors that foster or impede cooperative production of knowledge should be an essential component of integrated assessments involving scientists, practitioners and stakeholders.
  • Towards usable climate science: research supporting provision of regional climate servicesPodestá, G. P., Hidalgo, C. Berbery, E.H. | CLIVAR Exchanges , No. 63, 18(3), pp. 28 -33, 2013-12-01
  • Agricultural decision making in the Argentine Pampas: Modeling the interaction between uncertain and complex environments and heterogeneous and complex decision makersPodestá, G., Weber, E.U., Laciana, C., Bert, F., Letson, D. | In T. Kugler, J.C. Smith, T. Connolly, Y. Son (Eds.) Decision Modeling & Behavior in Complex & Uncertain Environments, Springer Optimization & Its Applications, 2(1), 57-76, 2008 [+]
    Summary: Simulated outcomes of agricultural production decisions in the Argentine Pampas were used to examine “optimal” land allocations among different crops identified by maximization of the objective functions associated with expected utility and prospect theories. We propose a more mathematically tractable formulation for the prospect theory value-function maximization, and explore results for a broad parameter space. Optimal actions differ among some objective functions and parameter values, especially for land tenants, whose enterprise allocation is less constrained by rotations. Our results demonstrate in a nonlaboratory decision context that psychologically plausible deviations from EU maximization matter. 10.1007/978-0-387-77131-1_3
  • Decadal climate variability in the Argentine Pampas: regional impacts of plausible climate scenarios on agricultural systemsPodestá, G.P., Bert, F., Rajagopalan, B., Apipattanavis, S., Laciana, C., Weber, E.U., Easterling, W., Katz, R., Letson D., & Menéndez, A. | Climate Research, 40: 199-210, 2009 [+]
    Abstract: The Pampas of Argentina have shown some of the most consistently increasing trends in precipitation during the 20th century. The rainfall increase has partly contributed to a significant expansion of agricultural area, particularly in climatically marginal regions of the Pampas. However, it is unclear if current agricultural production systems, which evolved partly in response to enhanced climate conditions, may remain viable if (as entirely possible) climate reverts to a drier epoch. We assess the potential impacts of a plausible decreasing trend in precipitation on the economic sustainability of 2 contrasting agricultural systems in the Pampas: Pergamino, in the most productive subregion of the Pampas, and Pilar, in the northern, semi-arid margin of the region. Also, we explore the scope for adaptation to changing climate. In the case where there is no adaptation, if precipitation decreases, as is plausible, impacts may be quite different between locations: whereas in Pergamino crop economic returns would not change noticeably, the more marginal Pilar would experience a marked decrease in profits and an increase in production risks. However, potential negative impacts might be mitigated, in part, if farmers adapt their agronomic management using current available technology or know-how. 10.3354/cr00807
  • Naive Advice When Half a Million is at StakePogrebna, G. | Economics Letters, 98(2), pp. 148-154, 2008 [+]
    Abstract: In the television show Affari Tuoi contestants face decision problems with large monetary payoffs and have an opportunity to seek advice from the audience. It appears that this advice does not have a significant impact on the decisions of contestants. 10.1016/j.econlet.2007.04.024
  • Words versus Actions as a Means to Influence Cooperation in Social Dilemma SituationsPogrebna, G., Krantz, D., Schade, C. & Keser, C. | Theory and Decision, 71(4), 2011-04-13 [+]
    Abstract: We use a sequential voluntary contribution game to compare the relative impact of a first-mover’s non-binding announcement versus binding commitment on cooperation. We find that a non-binding announcement and a binding commitment increase individual contributions to a similar extent. Since announced contributions systematically exceed commitments, in sessions with a non-binding announcement, second-movers tend to contribute more to the group activity than in sessions with a binding commitment. Yet, second-movers appear to be more motivated towards achieving a social optimum when the first-mover uses commitment. We also find that a non-binding announcement has a higher impact on individual propensity to cooperate than the ex post contribution of the first-mover. However, the failure to make announced contributions decreases cooperation even though the first-mover is reassigned in every period. 10.1007/s11238-011-9248-5
  • Climate change response in Europe: what’s the reality? Analysis of adaptation and mitigation plans from 200 urban areas in 11 countriesReckien, D., Flacke J., Dawson, R. J., Heidrich O., Olazabal, M. Foley, A., Hamann, J. J.-P., Orru, H., Salvia, M., De Gregorio Hurtado, S., Geneletti, D., Pietrapertosa, F. (2013). Climatic Change. , 2013-11-23
  • Combining analytical frameworks to assess livelihood vulnerability to climate change and analyse adaptation optionsReed, M.S., Podestá, G., Fazey, I., Geeson, N., Hessel, R., Hubacek, K., Letson, D., Nainggolan, D., Prell, C., Rickenbach, M.G., Ritsema, C., Schwilch, G., Stringer, L.C., Thomas, A.D. | Ecological Economics , pp. 66-77 [+]
    Experts working on behalf of international development organisations need better tools to assist land managers in developing countries maintain their livelihoods, as climate change puts pressure on the ecosystem services that they depend upon. However, current understanding of livelihood vulnerability to climate change is based on a fractured and disparate set of theories and methods. This review therefore combines theoretical insights from sustainable livelihoods analysis with other analytical frameworks (including the ecosystem services framework, diffusion theory, social learning, adaptive management and transitions management) to assess the vulnerability of rural livelihoods to climate change. This integrated analytical framework helps diagnose vulnerability to climate change, whilst identifying and comparing adaptation options that could reduce vulnerability, following four broad steps: i) determine likely level of exposure to climate change, and how climate change might interact with existing stresses and other future drivers of change; ii) determine the sensitivity of stocks of capital assets and flows of ecosystem services to climate change; iii) identify factors influencing decisions to develop and/or adopt different adaptation strategies, based on innovation or the use/substitution of existing assets; and iv) identify and evaluate potential trade-offs between adaptation options. The paper concludes by identifying interdisciplinary research needs for assessing the vulnerability of livelihoods to climate change.
  • Ethnographic and participatory approaches to research on farmers' responses to climate predictions.Roncoli, C. | Climate Research, 33, 81-99., 2006 [+]
    Abstract: This article synthesizes the state of the art in the application of ethnographic and participatory methods in climate application research. The review focuses on 2 aspects: (1) the cognitive and cultural landscape in which farmers’ understanding of climate and climate information is grounded and (2) the decision-making processes and environment which shape farmers’ adaptive strategies. The first part analyzes methods to elicit how farmers perceive and predict climate events and how these perspectives relate to scientific forecasts. It addresses the long-standing question of whether and how farmers understand the probabilistic nature of climate forecasts and how they assess the credibility and accuracy of such information. The second part examines approaches to characterizing the vulnerability of decision makers and to elucidating the configuration of options and obstacles that farmers face in using climate forecasts to mitigate risk. The complexities of farmers’ decisions and the difficulties of identifying the exact role that climate predictions play (and, therefore, of directly attributing impacts to them) are taken into account. Finally, the review highlights efforts to transcend the localized focus of farmer-centered approaches in order to capture interactions across sectors and scales. The review concludes by proposing that climate application research move from a ‘technology-adoption’ paradigm to a broader perspective on vulnerability and adaptation. This shift will entail a cross-scale, multi-sited research design and an interdisciplinary mix of interactive and structured tools and techniques. It will also require that the analytical focus be expanded to encompass local communities and their multiple action spaces as well as the higher spheres of decision-making, where policy and science are shaped. doi:10.3354/cr033081
  • Fielding Climate Change in Cultural AnthropologyRoncoli, C., Crane, T., & Orlove, B. | In S. Crate and M. Nuttall (Eds.), Anthropology and Climate Change: from Encounters to Action (pp. 87-115). Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 2009-01-01 [+]
    Introduction: Global climate change has become an increasingly visible topic in public culture over the past few decades, and will likely dominate environmental, political, and social agendas for some time to come. Only in the last few years has a critical mass of anthropologists begun to focus on the social practices and cultural implications surrounding the production of climate change models and scenarios, the communication and interpretation of climate information, climate change causes and solutions, and the implications of its impacts for people worldwide. ISBN 978-1-59874-334-0
  • Who counts, what counts: representation and accountability in water governance in the Upper Comoé sub-basin, Burkina FasoRoncoli, C., Dowd-Uribe, B., Orlove, B., West, C.T., Sanon, M. | Natural Resources Forum 10.1111/1477-8947.12095, 2016-07-05 [+]
    Abstract: This article examines the unfolding of integrated water resource management (IWRM) reforms in southwest Burkina Faso, where water resources are subject to conflicting claims by a diversity of users. We first describe the establishment a local water user committee, showing how choices regarding composition and operations grant varying levels of recognition to different stakeholders. We then discuss the implications for key dimensions of decentralized governance, namely representation and accountability. In particular we focus on: (a) how the interplay of political agendas and policy disconnects shapes the committee's viability and credibility and (b) how tensions between techno-scientific and local knowledge affect participation and transparency. We argue that in contexts defined by contentious politics and neo-patrimonial practices, representativeness is better ensured by the direct inclusion of user groups rather than elected officials. Though limited discretionary power, information access, and technical capabilities of committee members inhibit accountability, rural producers uphold their claims through social mobilization and reliance on local knowledge. Recognizing the opportunities offered by the country's recent democratic turn, we formulate recommendations aimed at addressing structural drivers and enabling citizen agency in decentralized water governance. At the same time, further research is needed on local people's understandings of representation and accountability, to ensure that they are involved in institutional design and practices in ways that affirm what they value and what they know.
  • From accessing to assessing forecasts: an end-to-end study of participatory climate forecast dissemination in Burkina Faso (West Africa).Roncoli, C., Jost, C., Kirshen, P., Sanon, M., Ingram, K.T., Woodin, M., Somé, L., Ouattara, F., Bienvenue, S.J., Sia, C., Yaka, P., & Hoogenboom, G. | Climatic Change, 92, 433-460, 2008-07-18 [+]
    Abstract: This study compares responses to seasonal climate forecasts conducted by farmers of three agro-ecological zones of Burkina Faso, including some who had attended local level workshops and others who had not attended the workshops. While local inequalities and social tensions contributed to excluding some groups, about two-thirds of non-participants interviewed received the forecast from the participants or through various means deployed by the project. Interviews revealed that almost all those who received the forecasts by some mechanism (workshop or other) shared them with others. The data show that participants were more likely to understand the probabilistic aspect of the forecasts and their limitations, to use the information in making management decisions and by a wider range of responses. These differences are shown to be statistically significant. Farmers evaluated the forecasts as accurate and useful in terms of both material and non-material considerations. These findings support the hypothesis that participatory workshops can play a positive role in the provision of effective climate services to African rural producers. However, this role must be assessed in the context of local dynamics of power, which shape information flows and response options. Participation must also be understood beyond single events (such as workshops) and be grounded in sustained interaction and commitments among stakeholders. The conclusion of this study point to lessons learned and critical insights on the role of participation in climate-based decision support systems for rural African communities. 10.1007/s10584-008-9445-6
  • From Management to Negotiation: Technical and Institutional Innovations for Integrated Water Resource Management in the Upper Comoé River Basin, Burkina Faso.Roncoli, C., Kirshen, P., Etkin, D., Sanon, M., Somé, L., Dembélé, Y., Bienvenu, S.J.., Zoungrana, J., Hoogenboom, G. | Environmental Management, 44, 695-711, 2009-08-26 [+]
    Abstract: This study focuses on the potential role of technical and institutional innovations for improving water management in a multi-user context in Burkina Faso. We focus on a system centered on three reservoirs that capture the waters of the Upper Comoé River Basin and servicing a diversity of users, including a sugar manufacturing company, a urban water supply utility, a farmer cooperative, and other downstream users. Due to variable and declining rainfall and expanding users’ needs, drastic fluctuations in water supply and demand occur during each dry season. A decision support tool was developed through participatory research to enable users to assess the impact of alternative release and diversion schedules on deficits faced by each user. The tool is meant to be applied in the context of consultative planning by a local user committee that has been created by a new national integrated water management policy. We contend that both solid science and good governance are instrumental in realizing efficient and equitable water management and adaptation to climate variability and change. But, while modeling tools and negotiation platforms may assist users in managing climate risk, they also introduce additional uncertainties into the deliberative process. It is therefore imperative to understand how these technological and institutional innovations frame water use issues and decisions to ensure that such framing is consistent with the goals of integrated water resource management.
  • Cultural styles of participation in farmers’ discussions of seasonal climate forecasts in UgandaRoncoli, C., Orlove, B.S., Kabugo, M.R., & Waiswa, M.M. | Agriculture and Human Values, 28(1), 123-138, 2010-01-21 [+]
    Abstract: Climate change is confronting African farmers with growing uncertainties. Advances in seasonal climate predictions offer potential for assisting farmers in dealing with climate risk. Experimental cases of forecast dissemination to African rural communities suggest that participatory approaches can facilitate understanding and use of uncertain climate information. But few of these studies integrate critical reflections on participation that have emerged in the last decade which reveal how participatory approaches can miss social dynamics of power at the community level and in the broader context. Furthermore, neither climate application research nor theoretical critiques of participation fully examine the culturally constructed nature of participation. Drawing on sociolinguistic analysis, in-depth interviews, and ethnographic observation, this paper examines how Ugandan farmers engage in participation in the context of discussions of seasonal climate forecasts. Forecasts were presented to farmers groups whose members were then asked to discuss the forecast among themselves. In doing so, groups sought to develop a common understanding of the forecast and consensual plans for response strategies. Focusing on one particular group meeting as an example, we show how different cultural styles of participation affect the interpretation of the forecast and the formulation of response strategies. Group interaction is shown to be mostly structured around two styles of participation. On the one hand, there is the ‘‘Western’’ style advocated by NGOs and the government, which centers on ensuring that all individuals who are present have opportunities to speak during discussion and to vote on group decisions. On the other hand, a ‘‘Kiganda’’ style of participation emphasizes the importance of affirming ties to a collectivity, respect for social hierarchy, deployment of good manners, and consensus building. The case study illuminates how the performance of different styles of participation is grounded in localized frameworks of language and culture but also draw on political and policy discourses at the national level. Although a cultural high value on consensus may work in favor of prominent members, the availability of multiple styles of participation also enables group members to exercise their agency in positive ways. Attention to the interplay of different styles of participation throws light on the subtle social processes that shape how knowledge is assessed, which sources are trusted, which and whose interpretations prevail, what options are deemed viable, how costs and benefits are calculated, and whose resources are mobilized in the effort to reduce vulnerability to climate risk. These are key questions for an assessment of the role of boundary organizations, such as farmer associations, in the communication and application of climate forecasts in agriculture.
  • Protecting Against Low Probability Disasters: The Role of WorrySchade, C., Kunreuther, H., Koellinger, P. | Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 25 (5), 534-543, 2012-01-12 [+]
    Abstract: We carry out a large monetary stakes insurance experiment with very small probabilities of losses and ambiguous as well as exact probabilities. Many individuals do not want to pay anything for insurance whether the probabilities are given exactly or are ambiguous. Many others, however, are willing to pay surprisingly large amounts. With ambiguity, the percentage of those paying nothing is smaller and the willingness to pay (WTP) of the other individuals larger than with exact probabilities. Comparing elasticities with ambiguity, we find that worry is much more important than subjective probability in determining WTP for insurance. Furthermore, when the ambiguous loss probability is increased by a factor of 1000, it has almost no effect on WTP.
  • Disease Forecasts and Livestock Health Disclosure: A Shepherd's DilemmaSheriff, G., & Osgood, D. | American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 92(3) 1–13, DOI 10.1093/ajae/aap042., 2010-02-02 [+]
    Abstract: We analyze how to induce sellers to disclose food safety. With repeated interactions and safety correlated over time, cash transfers alone do not ensure disclosure. Perfect, but costly, testing ensures disclosure with a complex lottery that may be difficult to implement in practice. In contrast, even a noisy quality forecast allows the buyer to induce perfect disclosure with a simple pricing scheme. Forecast introduction may benefit or harm sellers. After introduction, sellers may suffer from increases in forecast precision. As an illustration, we cast our model in the context of Rift Valley fever in an East African livestock market.10.1093/ajae/aap042
  • The Cloud Hunter's Problem: An Automated Decision Algorithm to Improve the Productivity of Scientific Data Collection in Stochastic EnvironmentsSmall, A., Stefik, J., Verlinde, J. & Johnson, N. | Monthly Weather Review, 139, 2276-2289, 2011-07-01 [+]
    Abstract: A decision algorithm is presented that improves the productivity of data collection activities in stochastic environments. The algorithm was developed in the context of an aircraft field campaign organized to collect data in situ from boundary layer clouds. Required lead times implied that aircraft deployments had to be scheduled in advance, based on imperfect forecasts regarding the presence of conditions meeting specified requirements. Given an overall cap on the number of flights, daily fly/no-fly decisions were taken traditionally using a discussion-intensive process involving heuristic analysis of weather forecasts by a group of skilled human investigators. An alternative automated decision process uses self-organizing maps to convert weather forecasts into quantified probabilities of suitable conditions, together with a dynamic programming procedure to compute the opportunity costs of using up scarce flights from the limited budget. Applied to conditions prevailing during the 2009 Routine ARM Aerial Facility (AAF) Clouds with Low Optical Water Depths (CLOWD) Optical Radiative Observations (RACORO) campaign of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program, the algorithm shows a 21% increase in data yield and a 66% improvement in skill over the heuristic decision process used traditionally. The algorithmic approach promises to free up investigators’ cognitive resources, reduce stress on flight crews, and increase productivity in a range of data collection applications. 10.1175/2010MWR3576.1
  • Climate Change Adaptation: Lessons from Unlikely SourcesSt. John, C. Reports of the National Council for Science Education 33:3, 2013-06-03
  • Ser-estar no sertão: capítulos da vida como filosofia visceralTaddei, R | Interface - Comunicação, Saúde, Educação , 18(50), pp.545-555, 2014-05-22
  • Etnografia, Meio Ambiente e Comunicação Ambiental.Taddei, R. & Gamboggi, A. | Caderno Pedagógico, Lageado v. 8, n. 2, p. 09-28, 2011-01-01
  • Depois que a chuva não veio. Respostas sociais às secas no Nordeste, na Amazônia e no Sul do Brasil.Taddei, R. & Gamboggi, A. | Fortaleza: Fundação Cearense de Meteorologia e Recursos Hídricos/Comitas Institute for Anthropological Study, ISBN: 978-85-62406-06-5. , 2010-01-01
  • A Comparative Analysis of Social Participation in Water Management in Burkina Faso and Northeast Brazil: The cases of Upper Comoé and Jaguaribe Basins.Taddei, R. | Internal Report , 2010
  • Watered-down democratization: modernization versus social participation in water management in Northeast Brazil.Taddei, R. | Agriculture and Human Values, DOI 10.1007/s10460-010-9259-9, 2010
  • Blame: The Hidden (and Difficult) Side of Climate Change Debate.Taddei, R. | Anthropology News, 49:45-46, 2008-11-01
  • A Comunicação Social da Informação sobre Tempo e Clima: o Ponto de Vista do Usuário.Taddei, R. | Boletim da Sociedade Brasileira de Meteorologia, v. 32, p. 20-39,, 2008
  • The Politics of Uncertainty and the Fate of ForecastersTaddei, R. | Ethics, Policy and Environment, 15 (2), 252-267, 2012-06-01
  • Os usos da lei e a vida social da legislação hídrica - Notas e reflexões sobre o caso do Ceará.Taddei, R. | Revista Teoria e Pesquisa, No. 44/45, 2004
  • Oráculos de lluvia en tiempos modernos - Medios, desarrollo económico y transformaciones de identidad social de los profetas del sertão en el Nordeste de BrasilTaddei, R. | In Garcia Acosta, V. (Coord.) Historia y Desastres en América Latina, III. México: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social / La Red, 2008, pp. 331-352., 2008
  • Notas sobre a vida social da previsão climática – Um estudo do caso do Ceará.Taddei, R. | In Lall, U. & Souza Filho, F.A. (Eds.) Gerenciamento Integrado dos Recursos Hídricos com Incorporação da Previsão Climática: da Informação e Previsão Climática à Redução das Vulnerabilidades às Secas no Semi-Árido Cearense. Palisades, NY , 2004
  • Social participation and the politics of climate in Northeast Brazil.Taddei, R. | In Latta, A. & Wittman, H. (Eds.) Environment and Citizenship in Latin America: Natures, Subjects and Struggles. New York: Berghahn Books ISBN 978-0-85745-747-9, 2012-07-01 [+]
    Abstract: This article examines social participation in the circulation of climate forecasts in the state of Ceará, Northeast Brazil. In that part of the country, the work of meteorology is subject to public scrutiny in newspapers and other forms of public communication, and is also confronted with the work of the rain prophets of rural areas. This creates a social context in which other forms of knowledge other than the scientific one, and other forms of voices other than the scientifically authorized ones, constitute a public arena in which environmental issues and their economic, social and cultural impacts are publicly debated. The article uses the cases of the public participation in meteorology to discuss how environmental citizenship is constructed in local practices, and the challenges and difficulties found in the process. ISBN 978-0-85745-747-9
  • Oráculos da Chuva em Tempos Modernos: Mídia, Desenvolvimento Econômico, e as Transformações na Identidade Social dos Profetas do Sertão.Taddei, R. | In Martins, K (Org.) Os Profetas da Chuva. Fortaleza: Tempo D'Imagem, 2006
  • O Contexto Sóciopolítico das Reformas na Gestão de Água no Ceará.Taddei, R., Broad, K. & Pfaff, A. | In Lall, U. & Souza Filho, F.A. (Eds.) Gerenciamento Integrado dos Recursos Hídricos com Incorporação da Previsão Climática: da Informação e Previsão Climática à Redução das Vulnerabilidades às Secas no Semi-Ári
  • Anthropologies of the Future: on the social performativity of (climate) forecastsTaddei, R., Kopnina, H., Shoreman-Ouimet, E. | In Routledge (Eds.) Environmental Anthropology: Future Directions, Chapter 11, 2013
  • Marcas de uma democratização diluída: modernidade, desigualdade e participação na gest ão de águas no CearáTaddei, R., and Gamboggi, A. L. | Revista de Ciências Sociais (UFC), Fortaleza, 42(2), 8-33., 2011-01-01 [+]
    Abstract: This article analyzes the results of a survey of 626 members of participatory water committees in Brazil. Contrasting the survey data with other quantitative and ethnographic data collected in the Jaguaribe Valley, state of Ceará, between 2003 and 2010, this paper suggests that the participatory governance of water resources in Brazil is going through a legitimacy crisis. The average profile of committee members reveal the socioeconomic gap between these individuals and the larger civil society, which should find in the committees a legitimate venue for political representation in water related disputes. Additionally, the article discusses the effects of the modernization discourse on the participation process, showing how new social identities are ascribed to local political players, with some being cast as not proper for responsible water management. The symbolic implications of modernization end up disarticulating the potential for the participation to be a process of effective social inclusion.
  • The politics of uncertainty and the fate of forecasters: climate, risk and blame in Northeast BrazilTaddei, R., | In Jankovic, V. & Barboza, C. (Eds.) Weather, Local Knowledge and Everyday Life: Issues in Integrated Climate Studies. Rio de Janeiro: MAST, 2009 [+]
    Abstract: Using ethnographic data from rural Northeast Brazil, this article explores, firstly, how climate uncertainties are interconnected to processes of accountability and blame, and, secondly, how this connection affects the activity of climate forecasting. By framing climate events in ways that downplay the inherent uncertainties of the atmosphere, political discourses on various scales, as well as religious narratives, create a propitious context for the enactment of what I call accountability rituals. Forecasters seem to attract to themselves a great deal of the collective anxieties related to climate, and are very often blamed for the negative impact of climate events. This blaming may take place in a variety of ways, and has a range of practical results: from real physical violence to attacks on the authority and legitimacy of forecasters, by way of ridicule and jokes. I conclude by suggesting that, on the one hand, the study of the social uses of climate-related uncertainties offers special opportunities for understanding how human societies deal with uncertainty and blame; and that, on the other hand, a better understanding of these issues is necessary to improve relations between climate forecasting and the societies where it takes place – the latter being a key issue in the processes of understanding and adapting to climate change.
  • Microinsurance Demand Assessment in Adi Ha Tabia, Tigray Regional State, Ethiopia.Teshome, W., Peterson, N., Gebrekirstos, A. & Muniappan, K. | Final Report to Oxfam America. Boston, USA. (published in print) , 2008
  • Positive and negative spillover of pro-environmental behavior: An integrative review and theoretical frameworkTruelove, H.B., Carrico, A.R., Weber, E.U., Raimi, K.T., Vandenbergh, M.P. | Global Environmental Change , 29, pp. 127-138, 2014-11-01 [+]
    Abstract: A recent surge of research has investigated the potential of pro-environmental behavior interventions to affect other pro-environmental behaviors not initially targeted by the intervention. The evidence evaluating these spillover effects has been mixed, with some studies finding evidence for positive spillover (i.e., one pro-environmental behavior increases the likelihood of performing additional pro-environmental behaviors) and others finding negative spillover (i.e., one pro-environmental behavior decreases the likelihood of additional pro-environmental behaviors). Different academic disciplines have investigated this question, employing different methodologies and arriving at divergent findings. This paper provides a unifying theoretical framework and uses the framework to review the existing research on pro-environmental behavior spillover. Our framework identifies different decision modes as competing mechanisms that drive adoption of initial pro-environmental behaviors, with different consequences for subsequent pro-environmental behaviors, leading to positive, negative, or no spillover. Attribution of the initial pro-environmental behavior to either an external motivator (e.g., a price signal) or internal motivator (e.g., self-identity) also matters. In addition, the characteristics of and similarity between initial and subsequent pro-environmental behaviors can be expected to moderate predicted spillover effects. We explore the implications of our model for policymakers and practitioners, and suggest key areas where future research on the topic would be most beneficial.
  • Feedback mechanisms between water availability and water use in a semi-arid river basin: A spatially explicit multi-agent simulation approachVan Oel, P., Krol, M., Hoekstra, A. & Taddei, R. | Environmental Modelling & Software 25:433-43, 2010-04-01 [+]
    Abstract: Understanding the processes responsible for the distribution of water availability over space and time is of great importance to spatial planning in a semi-arid river basin. In this study the usefulness of a multi-agent simulation (MAS) approach for representing these processes is discussed. A MAS model has been developed to represent local water use of farmers that both respond to and modify the spatial and temporal distribution of water resources in a river basin. The MAS approach is tested for the Jaguaribe basin in semi-arid Northeast Brazil. Model validity and required data for representing system dynamics are discussed. For the Jaguaribe basin both positive and negative correlations between water availability and water use have been encountered. It was found that increasing wet season water use in times of drought amplify water stress in the following dry season. It is concluded that with our approach it is possible to validly represent spatial-temporal variability of water availability that is influenced by water use and vice versa.10.1016/j.envsoft.2009.10.018
  • It's Only a Matter of Time: Death Legacies, and Intergenerational DecisionsWade-Benzoni, K.A., Tost, L.A., Hernandez, M. and Larrick, R.P. | Psychological Science, 20(10), 1-6, 2012-06-12 [+]
    Abstract: Intergenerational decisions affect other people in the future. The combination of intertemporal and interpersonal distance between decision makers in the present and other people in the future may lead one to expect little intergenerational generosity. In the experiments reported here, however, we posited that the negative effect of intertemporal distance on intergenerational beneficence would be reversed when people were primed with thoughts of death. This reversal would occur because death priming leads individuals to be concerned with having a lasting impact on other people in the future. Our experiments show that when individuals are exposed to death priming, the expected tendency to allocate fewer resources to others in the future, as compared with others in the present, is reversed. Our findings suggest that legacy motivations triggered by death priming can trump intergenerational discounting tendencies and promote intergenerational beneficence.
  • From intuition to analysis: Making decisions with our head, our heart, or by the book.Weber, E. U., & Lindemann, P. G. | In H. Plessner, C. Betsch, & T. Betsch (Eds.), Intuition in Judgment and Decision Making (pp. 191-208). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum [+]
    Introduction: The seemingly effortless, intuitive judgments and decisions made by experts—be they museum curators, stock traders, or chess grand masters—continue to fascinate both academia (eg, Hogarth, 2001) and the popularimagination (Gladwell, 2005). In this chapter, we propose that expert intuitionrefers to processes to which the decision maker does not have conscious accesseither because previously conscious, analytic processes have become automated toa point in which conscious attention is no longer necessary (Goldberg, 2005) or asthe result of cumulative, associative learning that has never been conscious (eg,Plessner, Betsch, Schallies, & Schwieren, chap. 7, this volume). We also argue thatnonexpert intuitive decision making is carried out in related ways. ISBN: 0805857419
  • Cultural differences in risk taking and precaution: The relative roles of risk perception and risk attitude.Weber, E. U., & Ancker, J. S. | In J. Wiener, L. Rogers, J. Hammitt, & P. Sand (Eds.), The Reality of Precaution: Comparing Approaches to Risk Regulation in the US and Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007
  • Public Understanding of Climate Change in the United StatesWeber, E. U., & Stern, P.C. | American Psychologist, Vol. 6, No. 4, 315-328, 2011-06-01 [+]
    Abstract: This article considers scientific and public understandings of climate change and addresses the following question: Why is it that while scientific evidence has accumulated to document global climate change and scientific opinion has solidified about its existence and causes, U.S. public opinion has not and has instead become more polarized? Our review supports a constructivist account of human judgment. Public understanding is affected by the inherent difficulty of understanding climate change, the mismatch between people's usual modes of understanding and the task, and, particularly in the United States, a continuing societal struggle to shape the frames and mental models people use to understand the phenomena. We conclude by discussing ways in which psychology can help to improve public understanding of climate change and link a better understanding to action. 10.1037/a0023253
  • Asymmetric discounting in intertemporal choice: A query theory account.Weber, E. U., Johnson, E. J., Milch, K.F., Chang, H., Brodscholl, J.C., & Goldstein, D.G. | Psychological Science, 18(6), 516-523., 2007-01-01 [+]
    Abstract: People are impatient and discount future rewards more when they are asked to delay consumption than when they are offered the chance to accelerate consumption. The three experiments reported here provide a process-level account for this asymmetry, with implications for designing decision environments that promote less impulsivity. In Experiment 1, a thought-listing procedure showed that people decompose discount valuation into two queries. Whether one considers delayed or accelerated receipt of a gift certificate influences the order in which memory is queried to support immediate versus delayed consumption, and the order of queries affects the relative number of patient versus impatient thoughts. Relative frequency and clustering of impatient thoughts predicts discounting and mediates the discounting asymmetry. Experiment 2 implicated query order causally: When participants listed reasons for immediate versus delayed consumption in the order used spontaneously in acceleration and delay decisions, the discounting asymmetry was replicated; reversing the order in which reasons were listed eliminated the asymmetry. The results of Experiment 3, which used an implicit-memory task, support a memory-interference account of the effect of query order. 10.1111/j.1467-
  • Experience-based and description-based perceptions of long-term risk: Why global warming does not scare us (yet).Weber, E.U. | Climatic Change, 77, 103-120, 2006 [+]
    Abstract: It should come as no surprise that the governments and citizenries of many countries show little concern about climate change and its consequences. Behavioral decision research over the last 30 years provides a series of lessons about the importance of affect in perceptions of risk and in decisions to take actions that reduce or manage perceived risks. Evidence from a range of domains suggests that worry drives risk management decisions. When people fail to be alarmed about a risk or hazard, they do not take precautions. Recent personal experience strongly influences the evaluation of a risky option. Low-probability events generate less concern than their probability warrants on average, but more concern than they deserve in those rare instances when they do occur. Personal experience with noticeable and serious consequences of global warming is still rare in many regions of the world. When people base their decisions on statistical descriptions about a hazard provided by others, characteristics of the hazard identified as psychological risk dimensions predict differences in alarm or worry across different classes of risk. The time-delayed, abstract, and often statistical nature of the risks of global warming does not evoke strong visceral reactions. These results suggest that we should find ways to evoke visceral reactions towards the risk of global warming, perhaps by simulations of its concrete future consequences for people's home or other regions they visit or value. Increased concern about global warming needs to solicited carefully, however, to prevent a decrease in concern about other relevant risks. The generation of worry or concern about global warming may be a necessary but not sufficient condition for desirable or appropriate protective or mitigating behavior on part of the general public. 10.1007/s10584-006-9060-3
  • What shapes perceptions of climate change?Weber, E.U. | WIREs Climate Change, Vol. 1, May/June 2010, 2010-05 [+]
    Abstract: Climate change, as a slow and gradual modification of average climate conditions, is a difficult phenomenon to detect and track accurately based on personal experience. Insufficient concern and trust also complicate the transfer of scientific descriptions of climate change and climate variability from scientists to the public, politicians, and policy makers, which is not a simple transmission of facts. Instead, worldview and political ideology, two elements of the cultural context of decisions, guide attention toward events that threaten the desired or existing social order, and shape expectations of change, which in turn guide the detection and interpretation of climate events. Action that follows from climate change perceptions can be informed by different processes. Affect‐based decisions about climate change are unlikely to motivate significant action, as politicians and the general public are not particularly worried about climate risks, and because attempts to scare people into greater action may have unintended negative consequences. Analysis‐based decisions are also unlikely to result in significant action, because of large discounting of uncertain future costs of climate risks compared to the certain and immediate costs of climate change mitigation. Rule‐based decisions that determine behavior based on moral or social responsibility may hold out the best prospects for sustainable action. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • Achieving Sustainable Development: Behavior Change through Goal Priming and Judicious Decision Mode Selection.Weber, E.U. | In Sachs, J. & Schlosser, P. (Eds.) Is Sustainainability Feasible? (in press)
  • Doing the right thing willingly: Behavioral decision theory and environmental policy.Weber, E.U. | In Shafir, E. (Ed.) The Behavioral Foundations of Policy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012-11-26 [+]
    Book summary: In recent years, remarkable progress has been made in behavioral research on a wide variety of topics, from behavioral finance, labor contracts, philanthropy, and the analysis of savings and poverty, to eyewitness identification and sentencing decisions, racism, sexism, health behaviors, and voting. Research findings have often been strikingly counterintuitive, with serious implications for public policymaking. In this book, leading experts in psychology, decision research, policy analysis, economics, political science, law, medicine, and philosophy explore major trends, principles, and general insights about human behavior in policy-relevant settings. Their work provides a deeper understanding of the many drivers--cognitive, social, perceptual, motivational, and emotional--that guide behaviors in everyday settings. They give depth and insight into the methods of behavioral research, and highlight how this knowledge might influence the implementation of public policy for the improvement of society.
  • On the importance of strengthening moderate beliefs in climate science to foster support for immediate action.Wendling, Z.A., Attari, S.Z., Carley, S.R., Krauss, R.M, Warren, D.C., Rupp, J.A., Graham, J.D. | Sustainability, 5(12), 5153-5170, 2013-12-03 [+]
    Abstract: Whereas many studies focus on climate skeptics to explain the lack of support for immediate action on climate change, this research examines the effect of moderate believers in climate science. Using data from a representative survey of 832 Indiana residents, we find that agreement with basic scientific conclusions about climate change is the strongest predictor of support for immediate action, and the strength of that agreement is an important characteristic of this association. Responses indicate widespread acceptance of climate change, moderate levels of risk perception, and limited support for immediate action. Half of the respondents (50%) preferred “more research” over “immediate action” (38%) and “no action” (12%) as a response to climate change. The probability of preferring immediate action is close to zero for those who strongly or somewhat disbelieve in climate change, but as belief in climate change grows from moderate to strong, the probability of preferring immediate action increases substantially; the strongest believers have a predicted probability of preferring immediate action of 71%. These findings suggest that, instead of simply engaging skeptics, increasing public support for immediate action might entail motivating those with moderate beliefs in climate change to hold their views with greater conviction.
  • Psychological and social factors associated with wastewater reuse emotional discomfortWester, J., Timpano, K. R., Cek, D., Lieberman, D., Fieldstone, S., Broad, K. | Journal of Environmental Psychology, 42, pp. 16-23, 2015-02-07 [+]
    Abstract: Wastewater reuse (WWR) technology has improved greatly in recent decades and may be an important solution to global water challenges. Nevertheless, several psychological and social barriers to widespread adoption still exist. Negative emotional reactions to WWR, known as the “yuck factor,” have been identified as central to public acceptance. The present study used a large, context-neutral, web-based, U.S. sample (N ¼ 207), to examine factors underlying these negative emotions, here measured as discomfort felt toward WWR. We used a more nuanced measure to isolate what aspects of disgust sensitivity predict discomfort and then explored this relationship in the context of other individual and psychological differences. Being female, having less education, and being particularly sensitive to pathogen-related disgust stimuli, all were factors that were significantly and independently associated with reported discomfort. Mediation analysis showed that women felt greater discomfort because of higher levels of pathogen disgust sensitivity.
  • Risk Communication: The Communication of Cost- Effectiveness Studies of Anti-Malaria Interventions to Policy MakersWillis, D.W. | European Journal of Risk Regulation, (2), 265-268, 2013-02-01
  • The Impact of Perceptual Aliasing on Exploration and Learning in a Dynamic Decision Making TaskZaval, L. & Gureckis, T. | In Ohlsson, S. & Catrambone, R. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society, 2010-08-14 [+]
    Abstract: Perceptual aliasing arises in situations where multiple, distinct states of the world give rise to the same percept. In this study, we examine how the degree of perceptual aliasing in a task impacts the ability of human agents to learn reward-maximizing decision strategies. Previous work has shown that the presence of perceptual cues that help signal distinct states of the environment can improve the ability of learners to adopt an optimal decision strategy in sequential decision making tasks (Gureckis & Love, 2009). In our experiments, we parametrically manipulated the degree of perceptual aliasing afforded by certain perceptual cues in a similar task. Our empirical results and simulations show how the ability of the learner improves as relevant states in the world uniquely map to differentiated percepts. The results provide further support for the model of sequential decision making proposed by Gureckis & Love (2009) and highlight the important role that state representations may have on behavior in dynamic decision making and learning tasks.
  • How Will I Be Remembered? Conserving the Environment for the Sake of One’s LegacyZaval, L., Markowitz, E.M., Weber, E.U. 2015. | Psychological Science ., 2015-01-05 [+]
    Abstract: Long time horizons and social distance are viewed as key psychological barriers to proenvironmental action, particularly regarding climate change. We suggest that these challenges can be turned into opportunities by making salient long-term goals and motives, thus shifting preferences between the present self and future others. We tested whether individuals’ motivation to leave a positive legacy can be leveraged to increase engagement with climate change and other environmental problems. In a pilot study, we found that individual differences in legacy motivation were positively associated with proenvironmental behaviors and intentions. In a subsequent experiment, we demonstrated that priming legacy motives increased donations to an environmental charity, proenvironmental intentions, and climate-change beliefs. Domain-general legacy motives represent a previously understudied and powerful mechanism for promoting proenvironmental behavior.
  • How warm days increase belief in global warmingZaval., L., Keenan, Elizabeth A., Johnson, Eric. J., Weber, Elke. U. | Nature Climate Change, 2014-01-12 [+]
    Abstract: Climate change judgements can depend on whether today seems warmer or colder than usual, termed the local warming effect. Although previous research has demonstrated that this effect occurs, studies have yet to explain why or how temperature abnormalities influence global warming attitudes. A better understanding of the underlying psychology of this effect can help explain the public’s reaction to climate change and inform approaches used to communicate the phenomenon. Across five studies, we find evidence of attribute substitution, whereby individuals use less relevant but available information (for example, today’s temperature) in place of more diagnostic but less accessible information (for example, global climate change patterns) when making judgements. Moreover, we rule out alternative hypotheses involving climate change labelling and lay mental models. Ultimately, we show that present temperature abnormalities are given undue weight and lead to an overestimation of the frequency of similar past events, thereby increasing belief in and concern for global warming.
  • Affordability of the National Flood Insurance Program: Application to Charleston County, South CarolinaZhao, W., Kunreuther, H., & Czajkowski, J. | National Hazards Review, 10.1061/(ASCE)NH.1527-6996.0000201, 04015020, 2015-11-25 [+]
    Abstract: In March 2014, Congress passed legislation delaying the phasing-in of premium increases on discounted flood insurance policies that had been authorized in July 2012 by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. This reversal highlights the tension between the realization of risk-based premiums and affordability of flood insurance for homeowners in flood-prone areas. This study on Charleston County, South Carolina, seeks to understand how the tension can be resolved using a voucher program coupled with required mitigation. It specifically focuses on home elevation as the mitigation method. This paper demonstrates a potential average increase of 108 to 159% for high-risk single-family properties in Special Flood Hazard Areas in Charleston moving from a current discounted premium to a full risk-based premium as proposed by the 2012 legislation. Implementation of the proposed voucher program coupled with required mitigation can reduce government expenditures by more than half over a program that does not require mitigation if the costs of elevating homes are around $25,000 and insurance policies are located in high hazard flood zones. In the coastal flood zones, cost savings are achievable even when the cost to elevate the house is as much as $75,000. However, the authors also find several conditions under which mitigation does not lead to reductions in the voucher cost, such as when the policyholder’s household income is below $10,000 or when elevation cost is unusually high.
  • Enhancing the relevance of Shared Socioeconomic Pathways for climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability researchvan Ruijven, B.J., Levy, M.A., Agrawal, A., et al. | Climatic Change, 122(3), 481-494., 2014-02-01 [+]
    Abstract: This paper discusses the role and relevance of the shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs) and the new scenarios that combine SSPs with representative concentration pathways (RCPs) for climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability (IAV) research. It first provides an overview of uses of social–environmental scenarios in IAV studies and identifies the main shortcomings of earlier such scenarios. Second, the paper elaborates on two aspects of the SSPs and new scenarios that would improve their usefulness for IAV studies compared to earlier scenario sets: (i) enhancing their applicability while retaining coherence across spatial scales, and (ii) adding indicators of importance for projecting vulnerability. The paper therefore presents an agenda for future research, recommending that SSPs incorporate not only the standard variables of population and gross domestic product, but also indicators such as income distribution, spatial population, human health and governance.