Webinar on behaviour and climate adaptation

Is it time to install solar panels or a rain barrel? Is it time to adapt to increasing flood risk? These measures are not exactly similar, but in both cases people are more willing to invest if they know the measures are effective and easy to adopt. This is one of the insights that were shared during the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT) webinar for policy makers at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Waterworks on 25 June 2020. IVM researcher Jantsje Mol was one of the presenters.

06/26/2020 | 10:46 AM

Anne van Valkengoed is an environmental psychologist and a PhD candidate at the University of Groningen. She first explained a theoretical framework for climate adaptation. “Such a framework is useful to examine and compare research findings. It also helps to inform policy”. Van Valkengoed’s framework consists of four factors to define climate adaptation behaviour. The first factor concerns the risk of climate change. Do people feel threatened by the risk of climate change? And do they have personal experience with extreme weather? The second factor concerns the desired behavioural change. Do people feel that the measures are effective? How much effort will it take to install the measures? The third factor is the social context: what do other people do? Finally, the institutional factor: do people feel responsibility, and do they trust the government?

Jantsje Mol is a behavioural economist and a PhD candidate at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM). She investigates what motivates people to invest in damage-reducing measures for individual homes. “To examine the role of insurance, financial incentives, risk perception and social norms, we have developed a game. At birthday parties I introduce myself as a game developer. After the first version for students, we adapted the game for a representative group of homeowners”. The game starts with a budget, a virtual home, information about the risks and sometimes an insurance policy. 

Interestingly, traditional expected utility theory could not explain all behaviour in the game. “A well-known theoretical concept moral hazard predicts that insured people do not invest in protection. But we found no moral hazard whatsoever in the game. Furthermore, we found a small effect of premium discount and flood probability on investments in the game. When we confronted participants with previous decisions of other homeowners (a ‘social norm-nudge’) we found no effect at all. This shows that it is really important to test financial incentives and nudges in the lab, before taking them to the field”.

Slides presentation Anne van Valkengoed (in Dutch).
Slides presentation Jantsje Mol (in Dutch). 

Slide webinar