Trust and public support for environmental protection in diverse national contextsISER External Seminars

As implied by the well-known tragedy of the commons parable, environmental problems arise because people can impose the costs of their actions onto others, rather than paying the full costs themselves. Arrangements for environmental protection are beneficial to individuals when the costs they pay for abatement are compensated by the benefits of proportionate efforts by others; public support for environmental protection should therefore depend on people’s trust in others to make such efforts. Based on multilevel analyses of survey data from a diverse sample of countries, this paper shows that people who report being more trusting are no more concerned about environmental problems, but substantially more supportive of environmental protection. This result suggests that trust plays an important role in translating positive concerns into normative preferences. Contrary to some previous research, I also find that neither national nor individual income has any relationship with environmental concern or support for protection, and that a belief in the benefits of free markets is associated with more rather than less support for environmental action in most countries.

Presented by:

Malcolm Fairbrother (University of Bristol)

Date & time:

May 19, 2014 2:00 pm - May 19, 2014 3:30 pm

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