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A Little More Action, Please: Increasing the Understanding about Citizens’ Lack of Commitment to Protecting the Environment in Different National Contexts
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3349-5778
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4614-343x
2018 (English)In: International Journal of Sociology, ISSN 0020-7659, E-ISSN 1557-9336, Vol. 48, no 4, p. 314-339Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study advances the current understanding of why many citizens do not display a high level of commitment to protecting the environment. We examine cross-national differences in the salience of attitudinal and behavioral profiles distinguished by their comparably low levels of pro-environmental behavior, in both the public and private spheres. Based on theories of postmaterialism and collective action problems, we expect gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and levels of generalized trust to be related to the salience of these attitudinal and behavioral profiles cross-nationally. First, low levels of GDP very likely constrain pro-environmental behavior through decreasing environmental concern, which should increase the probability of citizens displaying an attitudinal and behavioral profile characterized by low levels of both environmental concern and pro-environmental behavior. Second, collective action problems in low-trust countries should also constrain behavior by undermining the propensity of environmentally concerned individuals to act on their concerns, which should increase the probability of citizens displaying a profile characterized by low levels of pro-environmental behavior despite high levels of concern. Using latent class analysis and multilevel modeling, we analyze data from the International Social Survey Programme (2010) and show that the probability of individuals displaying these profiles is clearly linked to GDP and national levels of generalized trust, in the expected manner. In contrast to previous research, we demonstrate that these societal factors are complementary insofar as they relate to fundamentally different individual-level processes underlying pro-environmental behavior.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2018. Vol. 48, no 4, p. 314-339
Keywords [en]
pro-environmental behavior, environmental concern, GDP per capita, generalized trust, International Social Survey Programme (ISSP)
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-155906DOI: 10.1080/00207659.2018.1515703ISI: 000470273700002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-155906DiVA, id: diva2:1284320
Funder
Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, MMW 2014.0034Available from: 2019-01-31 Created: 2019-01-31 Last updated: 2019-06-20Bibliographically approved

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Johansson Sevä, IngemarKulin, Joakim

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