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Behind the veil of ignorance: Self-serving bias in climate change negotiations


Kriss, Peter H; Loewenstein, George; Wang, Xianghong; Weber, Roberto A (2011). Behind the veil of ignorance: Self-serving bias in climate change negotiations. Judgment and Decision Making, 6(7):602-615.

Abstract

Slowing climate change will almost certainly require a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, but agreement on who
should reduce emissions by how much is difficult, in part because of the self-serving bias—the tendency to believe that what is beneficial to oneself is also fair. Conducting surveys among college students in the United States and China, we show that each of these groups displays a nationalistic self-serving bias in judgments of a fair distribution of economic burdens resulting from mitigation. Yet, we also show, by disguising the problem and the identity of the parties, that it is possible to elicit perceptions of fairness that are not influenced by national interests. Our research reveals that the self-serving bias plays a major role in the difficulty of obtaining agreement on how to implement emissions reductions.
That is, the disagreement over what constitutes fair climate policy does not appear to be due to cross-national differences in what constitutes a fair distribution of burdens. Interventions to mitigate the self-serving bias may facilitate agreement.

Abstract

Slowing climate change will almost certainly require a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, but agreement on who
should reduce emissions by how much is difficult, in part because of the self-serving bias—the tendency to believe that what is beneficial to oneself is also fair. Conducting surveys among college students in the United States and China, we show that each of these groups displays a nationalistic self-serving bias in judgments of a fair distribution of economic burdens resulting from mitigation. Yet, we also show, by disguising the problem and the identity of the parties, that it is possible to elicit perceptions of fairness that are not influenced by national interests. Our research reveals that the self-serving bias plays a major role in the difficulty of obtaining agreement on how to implement emissions reductions.
That is, the disagreement over what constitutes fair climate policy does not appear to be due to cross-national differences in what constitutes a fair distribution of burdens. Interventions to mitigate the self-serving bias may facilitate agreement.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > General Decision Sciences
Social Sciences & Humanities > Applied Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Economics and Econometrics
Language:English
Date:October 2011
Deposited On:27 Feb 2013 16:30
Last Modified:29 Jun 2020 19:59
Publisher:Society for Judgment and Decision Making
ISSN:1930-2975
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:http://journal.sjdm.org/11/11816b/jdm11816b.pdf
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:6388

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