How to Finance Climate Change Policies? Evidence from Consumers' Beliefs

Last registered on August 18, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

How to Finance Climate Change Policies? Evidence from Consumers' Beliefs
Initial registration date
August 17, 2022

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
August 18, 2022, 3:23 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

ifo Institute

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
Georgetown University
PI Affiliation
ifo Institute
PI Affiliation
ifo Institute

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial is based on or builds upon one or more prior RCTs.
We design a large-scale survey that includes an information-treatment experiment to assess a representative population’s views about alternative schemes to finance climate change policies and the economic mechanisms that explain such views. We provide randomized information about which groups contribute more to or benefit from climate change. We then study how these different types of information affect the preferences for five alternative schemes to finance climate change policies.

External Link(s)

Registration Citation

D'Acunto, Francesco et al. 2022. "How to Finance Climate Change Policies? Evidence from Consumers' Beliefs." AEA RCT Registry. August 18.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Preferences for five different forms of financing climate change policies (CO2 tax, top marginal tax rate, tax on gainers of climate change, public debt, private insurance)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Respondents randomly read one of four different but truthful pieces of information: the control group read a short paragraph from Germany’s Federal Environmental Agency indicating that climate change has negative economic consequences. The three treatment groups read the same paragraph, plus an additional sentence that differed across groups: one group was informed that high-income households pollute more than others; another group that older individuals pollute more; and the last group was informed that certain firms and consumers gain from climate change by facing lower costs of production and/or higher demand for goods and services.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done by private contracting firm that implements survey.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
No clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
15,000 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
3,700 individuals per treatment groups
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
September 09, 2021, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
September 09, 2021, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Climate change policies have been rising to the top of the global political agenda, but how should governments finance them? Public economists propose solutions based on economic theory, but their political feasibility depends on voters’ support, and ordinary households often neglect economic theory and have different views about efficiency and fairness. We design a large-scale information experiment to assess a representative population’s beliefs about alternative forms of financing. We randomly provide information about which groups contribute more to or benefit from climate change and compare the support for alternative financing schemes across informed and uninformed consumers. Informed consumers strongly support the introduction of a VAT-style CO2 tax after learning that the rich contribute more to climate change than the poor, but do not support increasing taxes on older people when learning that they also pollute more. Moreover, consumers who learn that certain populations, due to luck, gain economically from climate change strongly oppose redistribution from gainers to losers of climate change. Consumers also oppose financing policies to fight climate change via public debt, implying higher costs for future generations. Market-based solutions, such as private insurance for those exposed to climate-change risk, are strongly opposed across the board.
D'Acunto, F., Möhrle, S., Neumeier, F., Peichl, A., & Weber, M. (2022). How to Finance Climate Change Policies? Evidence from Consumers' Beliefs.

Reports & Other Materials