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Selective attention and the importance of types for information campaigns

Can we improve the potential for information to induce individual climate-change curbing action by focusing on individual types? In this paper Maria Perrotta Berlin, Assistant Professor at SITE, and her co-author try to contribute to the understanding of the persistence and increase of meat eating in the face of mounting evidence on the ills of meat production and consumption by considering the role of selective attention and learning.

Free will of choices or an illusion of free will of choices

By Maria Perrotta Berlin and Benjamin Mandl

In this paper we try to contribute to the understanding of the persistence and increase of meat eating in the face of mounting evidence on the ills of meat production and consumpion by considering the role of selective attention and learning. We aim to test whether agent type plays a role in this process. If this hypothesis is true, simple informational campaigns about the externalities of meat consumption might be ineffective as the informational content may be lost on precisely the population of interest, omnivores. Policy strategies to reach this goal would then need to be refined. Our conclusions apply more generally to a policy agenda for climate-change curbing action, an area where convergence to nudges or strong incentives is proving very hard for policy makers at all levels, and the potential for information to spark action on its own would be very valuable.

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