‘Just transition’ policy strategies, public perceptions of climate change, and political participation in Italy.

Last registered on May 21, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

‘Just transition’ policy strategies, public perceptions of climate change, and political participation in Italy.
Initial registration date
May 16, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
May 21, 2024, 11:20 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

University of Bologna

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Do policies combining long-term environmentalism with short-term compensation for lower-income households influence concern about climate change and climate action? Building on previous literature that looks at support for climate change policies (Maestre-Andrés et al., 2019), this research posits that the inequality and fairness perceptions of environmental policies influence the prioritisation of climate change amongst voters, as well as the willingness to act for climate through political participation. In other words, ‘just transition’ policy programmes combining environmentalism with economic compensation should promote climate change politics, making climate change action more likely. The research tests this argument by designing two hypothetical climate policy packages. People who are presented with information on how environmental policy can protect the incomes and jobs of lower-income households should be more supportive of political action in favour of climate change policy compared to people presented with generic long-term climate policies. When environmental policy is combined with short-term compensation, the likelihood of conflict between economic hardship/growth and climate change policy costs is potentially reduced. This should lead to a more optimistic view of climate change action. In the absence of climate economic compensation policies, perceptions about climate change and climate change action are influenced by the need for economic prosperity and fewer government economic regulations (Benegal and Scruggs, 2016). The research design involves an information-provision treatment in Italy to test whether job and income compensation measures affect the climate change preferences of Italian voters. The treatment manipulation provides some people with information on environmental policies and redistributive measures, while the control group is presented with an environmental policy package without any reference to the distribution of its costs. The research looks at how different information changes the prioritisation of climate change policy, as well as attitudes towards climate change protests, environmentalist associations, and political participation. Furthermore, the experiment tests whether the treatment effect varies depending on the respondents’ perception of economic status and their previous information about climate change science.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Lepidi, Pietro Michael. 2024. "‘Just transition’ policy strategies, public perceptions of climate change, and political participation in Italy.." AEA RCT Registry. May 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.13635-1.0
Experimental Details


The online survey experiment includes (a) a survey questionnaire, (b) a treatment and control video with information about two hypothetical climate change policies (a carbon tax and a publically subsidised green infrastructure plan) and (c) the collection of outcome variables. Each individual is only assigned to either the treatment or control video.

The control video has information on how a carbon tax and a green infrastructure plan would work. The treatment video contains the same information as the control video but also includes additional details on how environmental policies can be designed to protect the jobs and income of lower-income households. Specifically, the treatment carbon policy informs respondents that the revenues from the carbon tax can be redistributed based on income, benefiting lower-income households economically. The treatment green infrastructure plan highlights how, in Italy, more jobs would be created than lost in the fossil fuel industry and emphasizes the protection of lower-income families' jobs. The videos are similar in length (1:44 for the control and 2:50 for the treatment). Access to the treatment and control videos (in Italian) and a transcription and translation of the videos are available in the Analysis Plan.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Perceived fairness, importance and feasibility of climate change policies
- Participation to environmental associations and parties
- Voting behaviours
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
I will estimate the impact of the treatment on various dependent variables, such as perceptions of climate change policies, climate-change-related political participation, and voting behaviours. Each of these will be estimated differently. First, respondents will report their perception of the viability and urgency of climate policies using a slider scale. After the treatment, the survey will present different pairs of contrasting statements, following the graded forced scale question format (Zhang et al., 2023). Respondents will indicate which statement they agree with the most and to what extent using a 0-100 slider scale, where 50 means they are equally distant from both statements. For example, after the treatment and control videos, the questionnaire will ask respondents to choose between ‘The policies against climate change are important, but at the moment, they are too expensive for Italian citizens’ and ‘The costs of the green energy transition are acceptable for Italian citizens’ on a zero to 100 scale (economic feasibility of climate change policy).

Using a similar scale, respondents choose between ‘Right now, Italy has more urgent needs and should not worry too much about climate change’ and ‘Climate change should be the Italian government's top priority right now’ (urgency of climate change policies). Another slider scale question asks to choose between ‘Over the next few years, we can count on the fact that Italian political parties will propose effective policies to tackle climate change’ and ‘Italian political parties will be unable to propose effective policies to tackle climate change in the coming years’ (trust in politicians’ ability for climate action). A final choice is offered between ‘We have reached a point where governments are unable to take any effective action to prevent or reverse the effects of climate change’ and ‘Environmental policies can be an effective tool in combating climate change’ (effectiveness of climate change policies).

After the treatment, further questions investigate whether people might participate in future climate protests and whether they would support existing environmentalist groups active in Italy on a 1 to 10 scale. The groups included are Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion, Legambiente, WWF, and Greenpeace. In the political participation section, questions ask how likely people will vote at the next general elections on a scale from 1 to 10 and how likely people are to vote for each of the 9 major Italian parties. Finally, a question asks how important climate change policy is when deciding what party to vote for (Not at all / a little / moderately / a lot / a great deal).

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Respondents are asked to watch either the control or the treatment video carefully. The videos explain two hypothetical climate policies using pictures and animations.

All permanent residents in Italy are eligible to participate in the survey experiment and can be randomly selected for the treatment group. Respondents who report that they did not view the video correctly will be excluded.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Online experiment, randomization conducted through built-in software on LimeSurvey. Proportional stratified random sampling is used to ensure that respondents are representative of the Italian general population by age, gender, and region. Strata are calculated from the Italian population census.
Randomization Unit
Individual participant
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
approx. 500 individuals in the treatment group and 500 in the control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The sample size has been determined to ensure an estimated power of 0.8 for most of the observed dependent variables based on the treatment effect observed in a small pilot study of 83 observations (at a significance level of 0.05).

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Bioethics Committee of the University of Bologna
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information