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Climate Protest Mobilization is a Strategic Game: Theory, Econometric Application, and Experimental Evidence from the Field

Considering private and collective goods supplied by political mass protest, we model how beliefs regarding the participation of others are critical in protest formation. We test the hypotheses with data from a field experiment that uses an information treatment to identify the effect of beliefs on participation. The study was conducted around the “Third Global Climate Strike” (20.9.19) with adults from the largest four German cities, which was the first attempt to reach out beyond the youth. We find robust evidence that participation decisions are causally related to beliefs about participation of others in a way consistent with “free riding”.

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