Earth Institute Research Projects

DMUU: Understanding and Improving Environmental Decisions

Lead PI: Ben Orlove , Professor David H. Krantz , Elke Weber, Kenneth Broad

Unit Affiliation: Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED)

September 2015 - August 2019
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: This collaborative group will continue ongoing efforts to study individual and group decision making under climate uncertainty and decision making in the face of environmental risk. The researchers will focus on synthesizing theoretical and empirical results of studies conducted over the last ten years in areas such as agriculture and water management. Three themes have connected the various research projects: the presentation and use of scientific information, the role of social context across different scales, and the effects of decision architecture. The collaborative group will synthesize project results generated across different sectors, cultures, and theoretical frameworks. The focus will be on the development of products that benefit the broad academic and practitioner communities, such as a book, educational videos, and tutorials. These materials will be available to inform future studies of environmental decision goals and processes and the communication of scientific information related to environmental science in order to motivate sustainability. The collaborative group will maintain its international network of expertise and researchers through virtual connections.

The investigators will synthesize theoretical and empirical results from their prior research generated across different sectors, cultures, and theoretical frameworks and translate those results into a form accessible to other researchers. Synthesis and integration efforts of sector-based field project results (in the areas of climate, water, hazards, energy) will enable researchers to infer the influence of central constructs from cognitive and social psychology in environmental perception and decisions. Comparing findings across sectors, particularly pertaining to the description-experience gap, will allow researchers to disentangle the effect of different elements of personal experience. Synthesis activities will focus on choice architecture, where behavioral decision theories and insights are turned into interventions. A meta-analysis of the relative effectiveness of different choice architecture interventions in different domains and with different populations of decision makers will generate a matrix, including data from this collaborative group and others.


National Science Foundation (NSF)





Arora, P., Bert, F., Podesta, G., Krantz, D.. "Ownership effect in the wild: Influence of land ownership on agribusiness goals and decisions in the Argentine Pamps," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Econonmics, v.58, 2016, p. pp. 162-1.

Bert, F., Nothr, M., Rovere, S. tatara, E., Macal, C., Podesta, G.. "Simulating agricultural land rental markets by combining agent-based models with traditional economic concepts: The case of Argentine Pampas," Environmental Modeling and Software, v.71, 2015, p. pp. 97-11.

Bhattacharya, H., Osgood, D.. "Weather Index Insurance and Common Property Resources," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, v.43, 2014, p. pp. 438-4.

Levine, J. M., Alexander, K. M., Wright, A. G. C.,& Higgins, E. T.. "Group brainstorming: When regulatory non-fit enhances performance," Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, v.19, 2016, p. pp. 257-2.

Etkin, D., P. Kirshen, D. Watkins, C. Roncoli, M. Sanon, L. Somé, Y. Dembelé, B. Sanfo, J. Zoungrana, G. Hogenboom. "Stochastic Linear Programming for Improved Reservoir Operations for Multiple Objectives in Burkina Faso, West Africa," Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, v.10, 2015, p. pp.1943-5.

Fox-Glassman, K. T., & Weber, E. U.. "What makes risk acceptable? Revisiting the 1978 psychological dimensions of perceptions of technological risks," Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 2016. doi:10.1016/

Giulio, G.; Groves, C. ; Monteiro, M.; Taddei, R.. "Communicating through vulnerability: knowledge politics, inclusion and responsiveness in responsible research and innovation," Journal of Responsible Innovation, 2016, p. p. 1-37.

Macnaghten,P.; Owen, R.; Stilgoe, J.; Wynne, B.; Taddei, R.. "Inovação responsável através de fronteiras: tensões, paradoxos e possibilidades," Teoria & Pesquisa, v.24, 2015, p. p. 18-24.

Perry, S.C., Blanpied, M.L., Burkett, E.R., Campbell, N.M., Carlson, A., Cox, D.A., Driedger, C.L., Eisenman, D.P., Fox-Glassman, K.T., Hoffman, S., Hoffman, S.M., Jaiswal, K.S., Jones, L.M., Luco, N., Marx, S.M., McGowan, S.M., Mileti, D.S., Moschetti, M. U.S. Geological Survey Circular, 2016. doi:

Roncoli, C., B. Dowd-Uribe, B. Orlove, C. West, M. Sanon. "Who Counts, What Counts: Representation and Accountability in Water Governance in the Upper Comoé sub-basin, Burkina Faso," Natural Resources Forum, v.40, 2016, p. p. 6-20. doi:10.1111/1477-8947.12095

Taddei, R. "Sobre a invisibilidade dos desastres na antropologia brasileira," WATERLAT-GOBACIT Network Working Papers, Thematic Area Series SATAD, TA8 ? Water-related Disasters, v.1, 2014, p. 30.

Zaval, L. & Cornwell, J.M.. "Cognitive Biases, Non-Rational Judgments, and Public Perceptions of Climate Change," The Oxford Encyclopedia of Climate Change Communication, 2016. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.304

Kaczan, D., A. Pfaff, L.A. Rodriguez and E. Shapiro-Garza. "Increasing the Impact of Collective Incenties: conditionality on additionality within PES in Mexico," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2017. doi:10.1016/j.jeem.2017.06.007

Ungemach, C., Camilleri, A.R., Johnson, E.J., Larrick, R.P., Weber, E.U.. "Translated Attributes as Choice Architecture: Aligning objectives and choices through decision signposts.," Management Science, 2017. doi:10.1287/mnsc.2016.2703

Attari, S.Z., Krantz, D.H. & Weber, E.U.. "Energy conservation goals: What people adopt, what they recommend, and why," Judgment and Decision Making, v.11, 2016, p. 342. doi:

Attari, S.Z., Krantz, D.H. & Weber, E.U.. "Statements about climate researchers? carbon footprints affect their credibility and the impact of their advice," Climatic Change, v.138, 2016, p. 325. doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1713-2

Gong, M., Lempert, R., Parker, A., Mayer, L.A., Fischbach, J., Sisco, M., Mao, Z., Krantz, D.H. & Kunreuther, H.. "Testing the scenario hypothesis: An experimental comparison of scenarios and forecasts for decision support in a complex decision environment," Environmental Modelling and Software, v.91, 2017, p. 135. doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2017.02.002

Sobel, A., Camargo, S.J., Debucquoy, W., Deodatis, G., Gerrard, M., Hall, T., Hallman, R., Keenan, J., Lall, U., Levy, M.A., Orlove, B., Rosenzweig, C., Seager, R., Shaman, J., and Tippett, M.. "Extreme Weather and Climate: Workshop Report," Journal of Extreme Events, v.3, 2016. doi:10.1142/S2345737616710019

Orlove, B.. "Two Days in the Life of a River: Glacier Floods in Bhutan," Anthropologica, v.58, 2016, p. 227. doi:10.3138/anth.582.T05

Alpizar, F., A. Norden, A. Pfaff and J. Robalino. "Unintended Effects of Targeting an Environmental Rebate," Environmental and Resource Economics, v.67, 2015, p. 181. doi:10.1007/s10640-015-9981-2

Shealy, T., Klotz, L., Weber, E.U., Bell, R.G., Johnson, E.J.. "Using framing effects to inform more sustainable infrastructure design decisions," Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, v.142, 2016. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001152

Sisco, M.R., Bosetti, V. & Weber, E.U.. "When do weather events generate attention to climate change?," Climatic Change, v.143, 2017, p. 227. doi:10.1007/s10584-017-1984-2

Weber, E.U.. "What shapes perceptions of climate change? New research since 2010," WIREs Climate Change, v.7, 2016, p. 125. doi:10.1002/wcc.377

Alpizar, F., A. Norden, A. Pfaff, J. Robalino. "Spillovers from Targeting of Incentives: exploring responses to being excluded," Journal of Economic Psychology, 2017.

Dowd-Uribe, B.; Sanon, M.; Roncoli, C. and Orlove, B.. "Grounding the Nexus: The Challenges to Water and Food Joint Management in Burkina Faso," Water Alternatives, 2018.

Majd, S. & Weber, E.. "Evidence of query theory as tool to assist restrained eaters," American Journal of Health Behaviors, 2017.

Milch, K., Broad, K., Orlove, B., & Meyer, B.. "Decision science perspectives on hurricane vulnerability: Evidence from the 2010-2012 Atlantic hurricane seasons," Atmosphere, v.9, 2018.

Nyborg, K., J.M. Anderies, A. Dannenberg, T. Lindahl, C. Schill, M. Schlüter, W.N. Adger, K.J. Arrow, S. Barrett, S. Carpenter, F.S. Capin III, A.-S. Crépin, G. Daily, P. Ehrlich, C. Folke, W. Jager, N. Kautsky, S.A. Levin, S. Polasky, M. Scheffer, M. S.. "The non-smoking planet: How social norm changes can help solve global problems," Science, 2016.

Pfaff, A. , M.A. Velez , P. Ramos and A. Molina. "Path-Dependent Extraction Constrains Collective Action: higher scarcity generates durable selfishness in vertical setting," Ecological Economics, 2015.

Schneider, C., Zaval, L., Weber, E & Markowitz, E.. "The influence of anticipated pride and guilt on pro-environmental decision making," PLOS ONE (In revision), 2017.

Yoeli, E., Budescu, D.V., Carrico, A.R., Delmas, M.A., DeShazo, J.R., Ferraro, P.J., Forster, H.A., Kunreuther,H., Larrick, R.P., Lubell, M., Markowitz, E.M., Tonn, T., Vandenbergh, M.P. & Weber, E.U.. "Behavioral science tools for energy and environmental policy," Behavioral Science and Policy, 2017.

Zaval, L. & Cornwell, J.M.. "Effective education and communication strategies to promote environmental engagement.," European Journal of Education, v.52, 2017.


environmental risk group decision making agriculture environmental decisions climate uncertainty water management forecast


Stewardship of the planet