Joint Discussion Paper Series in Economics 02-2015
This paper investigates the interrelation between adaptation and climate protection efforts of individuals in a cross-country comparison. The theoretical predictions based on a subjective utility framework demonstrate that, at the individual level, private adaptation and climate protection activities are determined by different factors and thus cannot be substitutes. Considering seven climate protection and four adaptation measures, these theoretical predictions are tested empirically using representative data from more than 3400 citizens in China, Germany, and the USA. The empirical findings are consistent with the theoretical predictions that the engagement in adaptation and climate protection activities tends to be positively related. While climate protection efforts seem to be mainly driven by their benefits (e.g., financial advantages or feelings of warm glow), adaptation activities are significantly influenced by a higher income and the individual evaluation of the risk that negative consequences from climate change occur. There is also some evidence that a perceived lack of public engagement in climate protection is compensated by increased private adaptation and climate protection efforts. Preferences for public adaptation and climate protection are significantly determined by individuals' beliefs about the efforts of others, social norms, feelings of warm glow, and confidence in the effectiveness.