Chiara Binelli and Matthew Loveless

Abstract: While a political divide between Democrats and Republicans persists about the urgency to tackle climate change in the US, growing evidence suggests that individuals’ proenvironmental actions and support for green policies are much less politically divided. We investigate which type of information on climate change, and through which mechanism, can promote such actions and policy support. Using an online randomized experiment, we find that providing prospective rather than retrospective information on local climate change has a significant and positive impact on both individuals’ behavior and policy support across party lines. The effectiveness of this information provision depends on three main mechanisms: assigning individuals, rather than governments or corporations, the responsibility of addressing climate change; having young children; and expressing trust in the central government. Overall, the results suggest that providing prospective information on local climate change and focusing on individual actions and support for green policies can substantially contribute to raising the necessary support to address climate change.

CeRSP Working Paper 24-01