Working Paper BETA #2021-20

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Title : Non-monetary incentives for sustainable biomass harvest: An experimental approach

Author(s) : May Attallah, Jens Abildtrup, Anne Stenger

Abstract : In this article, we use an experimental approach to test the effect of non-monetary incentives that can guide harvest professionals into adopting new sustainable harvesting practices. First, we test the effect of signing a declaration that commits wood buyers who voluntarily sign it to act in a sustainable manner. Second, we test the effect of priming by activating a concept of sustainability on subjects’ behaviour. Our results provide evidence that signing a declaration is more effective than priming in inducing subjects to act in a sustainable manner when personal and collective interests are not aligned and there are financial incentives to make decisions that are against environmental sustainability. From a public policy point of view, a declaration is an effective tool and easy to implement by institutions aiming at fostering pro-environmental behaviour.

Key-words : Timber harvest; Laboratory experiment; Non-monetary incentives; Commitment; Priming

JEL Classification : C91; Q23; Q56