Paying for the Future: Deliberation and Support for Climate Action Policies

Michael MacKenzie, Didier Caluwaerts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Numerous studies have demonstrated that deliberation can affect how people think about complex policy options. In this paper, we operate on the assumption that while democratic processes cannot guarantee specific policy outcomes (without losing some of their legitimacy), certain types of democratic practices – such as deliberation – can be used to encourage people to support environmental policies. We test this assumption with an experiment that was designed to examine whether there are systematic differences in support for climate action policies among groups of people who deliberated the policies with each other and those who did not. In our experiment, 330 participants were asked to consider two policies designed to help mitigate climate change: (1) increases to the US federal gas tax; and (2) a tree planting policy. Our results show that those who deliberated became more supportive of government action on the gas tax policy, and they also became more willing to pay higher gas taxes than those who did not deliberate. These findings are consistent across model specifications and substantively significant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-331
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy & Planning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


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