Effects of Personal Carbon Allowances on decision making: Evidence from an experimental simulation

S Capstick, Alan Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (SciVal)


Behavioural influences of personal carbon trading (PCT) beyond those anticipated by pure price effects have been a theoretically attractive, yet empirically elusive, feature of such schemes. Computer-based simulation is used to examine the effects of participants' decisions on their personal carbon allocations within a PCT context. Evidence is presented about participants' tendencies to make more energy-conserving decisions as a consequence of attending to a restrictive and diminishing carbon allowance - independent of other financial and carbon cost information provided suggesting that a form of 'carbon budgeting' is occurring. Further measurements indicate that the extent of carbon reduction achieved within the simulated PCT framework varies according to pro-environmental attitudes. Evidence is also presented that the size of participants' footprints correlates inversely with support for PCT; and that pro-environmental attitudes correlate positively with support for PCT. The advantages and drawbacks of using simulations for examining behavioural responses to PCT are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-384
Number of pages16
JournalClimate Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • energy demand
  • households
  • energy consumption
  • personal carbon trading
  • behaviour
  • personal responsibility


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