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ZEW Team Visits School in Ludwigshafen

The ZEW team worked with about 70 young people from several European countries to develop concrete answers and proposed solutions in the form of a game on public goods.

Why is cooperation in international climate policy so important – and why does it seem so complicated in practice? ZEW researchers Dr. Marc Frick and Dr. Madeline Werthschulte from the Research Unit “Environmental and Climate Economics” dealt with this question in the context of the “Global Days” held on 5 October 2022 at the Berufsbildende Schule (BBS) Wirtschaft I in Ludwigshafen. As part of the “Global Days”, an international encounter project on the energy crisis and climate change organised by the BBS, the ZEW researchers worked out concrete answers and solutions in the form of a game on public goods together with around 70 young people from several European countries.

The game makes the dilemma of the climate negotiations clearly tangible for the school students. In the playful experiment, the young people can decide whether they keep the fictitious money they have received for themselves or pay it into a joint account. The joint account benefits all participants after the negotiations are concluded. If all participants paid into the joint account, this would be more advantageous for everyone because it yields better interest. In such games, however, this socially optimal solution is usually not achieved because most players maximise their own profit, i.e. they keep the money themselves and profit as “free riders” from the contributions of the other participants to the joint account, as was also the case with the BBS. The parallels of the game to the climate negotiations and possible solutions were then discussed.

The “Global Days” at the BBS were preceded by a visit of the school to ZEW Mannheim in the summer, during which students informed themselves in detail about the work of the economic research institute.