Policy Evaluation: Subsidies and Labels

Carbon footprint labelling and sustainble food subsidies: A large scale field experiment with 13 university cafeterias

Image credit: Jesus College Cambridge

This field experiment will be conducted in collaboration with 13 college cafeterias to test the effectiveness of sustainable food subsidies in combination with carbon footprint labels on food choices. The study will assign the cafeterias into three groups: a control group, a group receiving carbon footprint labels, and a group introducing both carbon footprint labels and sustainable food subsidies. The introduction of the subsidies will be accompanied by an information campaign informing students about the objective of the discounts. The study will measure the impact of these interventions on the proportion of sustainable food choices among the university students who frequent the participating cafeterias and estimate potential emissions savings achieved associated with these interventions.

The food subsidies will be applied to all plant-based meals sold in the subsidy intervention cafeterias. The carbon footprint labels will provide information on the carbon footprint of each dish and be placed next to the dish on the cafeteria menu. The study will also measure the acceptability of these interventions among the university community, through surveys and interviews with a sample of participants.

The results of this study will provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of food subsidies and carbon footprint labels in promoting sustainable food choices among university students. Additionally, the study will examine the potential of combining food subsidies with carbon footprint labels to create a synergistic effect on sustainable food choices, which could be useful information for policymakers and university administrators looking to promote more sustainable food systems on campus.

Paul Lohmann
Paul Lohmann
Research Associate

My research interests include behavioural environmental economics and field experiments.