An experimental investigation of the impacts of persuasion and information acquisition of non-use values for climate change adaptation

Produced as part of the Adaptation to climate change and human development CCCEP research programme theme

Working Paper 125


Focusing on the estimation of WTP for climate change adaptation projects in vulnerable areas around the world, this study explores the divergence between economic non-use values produced using a standard CV survey approach, and those produced using a persuasive’ CV survey in which most sources of informational bias are systematically exploited to maximise expressed WTP.

We interact the persuasion analysis with a cross-cutting treatment involving optional information access. It is proposed that allowing respondents to voluntarily access added information emulates rather more closely consumer pre-purchase behaviour in the market.

We examine information acquisition using two treatments: a pre-set default option (the default is “no added information wanted”) versus an “active decision” option (“would you like added information?”). The interactions produce an eight-cell experimental design. We find that, contrary to expectations, the persuasion treatment has a negative influence on WTP.

We also find that persuasive information appears to dissuade respondents from accessing added information when this is offered as an opt-in default. Effort spent accessing added information has a strong influence on WTP but the sign on the coefficient varies depending on how the information was offered to respondents.

Tanya O’Garra and Susanna Mourato