Climate change framing and innovator attention: Evidence from an email field experiment

Drawing the attention of innovators to climate change is important for green innovation. We report an email field experiment with MIT using messages about the impact of climate change to invite innovators (SBIR grantees) to apply to a technology competition. We vary our messages on the time frame and scale of the human cost of climate change across scientifically valid scenarios. Innovator attention (clicks) is sensitive to climate change messaging. These changes in clicks also predict higher application rates. The response varies by individual characteristics such as location-based exposure to climate change risks and whether innovators have climate-related innovations. Finally, using a structural model of innovator attention, we provide estimates of the implied discount rate of time and the elasticity of attention to lives at stake.

Jorge Guzman and Jean Joohyun Oh are part of IGL's Research Network