Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    For environmental problems such as climate change, uncertainty about future conditions makes it difficult to know what the goal of mitigation efforts should be, and inequality among the affected parties makes it hard for them to know how much they each should do toward reaching the goal. We examine the effects of scientific uncertainty and wealth inequality in experiments where subjects decide how much to contribute toward reducing a common threat. We also explore how the framing of uncertainty affects collective action. Our results suggest that uncertainty lowers contributions, but contributions remain surprisingly high even in treatments with a variable loss probability, where such behavior is individually suboptimal (and where the underlying game is a prisoner’s dilemma). Further, we find that the characterization of uncertainty is crucial and that inequality need not lower contributions at all.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Brown, Thomas C.; Kroll, Stephan. 2017. Avoiding an uncertain catastrophe: Climate change mitigation under risk and wealth heterogeneity. Climatic Change. 141(2): 155-166.


    Google Scholar


    climate change, mitigation, risk, uncertainty

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page