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The willingness to offset CO2 emissions from traveling: Findings from discrete choice experiments with different framings

: Schwirplies, Claudia; Dütschke, Elisabeth; Schleich, Joachim; Ziegler, Andreas


Ecological economics 165 (2019), Art. 106384, 16 S.
ISSN: 0921-8009
Fraunhofer ISI ()
climate change; carbon offsetting; framing effects; provider contribution; willingness to pay; discrete choice experiments

This paper explores the effects of framing a polluting activity in different contexts, i.e. different modes of transportation (bus versus plane) and different travel occasions (holiday versus professional training) on the individual willingness to pay (WTP) for carbon offsetting. For both types of framing, we also study additional contributions from the travel provider (i.e. matching). The empirical analyses with mixed logit and latent class logit models are based on data from discrete choice experiments with a representative sample of about 1000 individuals from Germany. The findings suggest substantial and systematic framing effects resulting from varying the mode of transportation, but not the travel occasion. Furthermore, the individual WTP is significantly higher across all four contexts when offsets are matched by the travel provider at a rate of 100%. In contrast, a lower matching rate of 33% is only relevant for one context, i.e. bus trips to a professional training. In addition, our results indicate that re-/afforestation projects are preferred to renewable energies projects or projects to improve energy efficiency. Likewise, projects carried out in a participant's region are preferred to projects implemented in European countries other than Germany or in developing countries. Finally, the WTP for offsets is found to be significantly higher for individuals with higher income, younger age, and stronger environmental and social preferences, as well as for individuals who believe that offsetting is effective in protecting the climate.