Encouraging Cooperation in Climate Collective Action Problems

In this project for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we examine how behavioural science can help solve climate collective action problems. Climate change is a collective action problem because it requires people to cooperate to reach a collective goal (a liveable climate), even when doing so comes at a personal cost (changing our lifestyle to reduce our carbon emissions), which creates incentives to "free-ride" on other people's efforts. To understand how to encourage cooperation in such settings, we (1) conducted a narrative review on the behavioural science of cooperation, (2) carried out a systematic scoping review of available evidence on decision-making and behaviour in climate collective action problems, and (3) drew policy implications for Ireland from these reviews as well as identified open questions where more evidence is needed.

The report is currently in its final stages and will be published later in 2024.