How green are green economists?

This paper analyzes the decision of “green” economists to participate in the carbon offset market, and how this decision is related with the views that these experts hold on offsets. It also compares the preferences of economists with those of the general public, as emphasized in the literature. The paper exploits a unique dataset examining the decision to purchase carbon offsets at two academic conferences in environmental and ecological economics. We find that having the conference expenses covered by one’s institution increases the likelihood of offsetting, but practical and ethical reservations as well as personal characteristics and preferences also play an important role. We focus on the effect of objecting to the use of offsets and discuss the implications for practitioners and policy-makers. Based on our findings, we suggest that ecological and environmental economists should be more involved in the design and use of carbon offsets.

Carattini, Stefano and Tavoni, Alessandro (2016) How green are green economists? Economics Bulletin, 36 (4). pp. 2311-2323. ISSN 1545-2921