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The Determinants of Environmental Awareness and Behavior

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  • Quentin M. Duroy

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    (Department of Economics, Higley Hall, Denison University, Granville OH 43023, USA)

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    Abstract

    This paper investigates the determinants of environmental values across countries. Its purpose is to put the role of economic affluence into perspective by challenging the conventional wisdom that states that the level of economic affluence influences the level of environmental concern expressed by the population. While this paper does not question the fact that large scale environmental defensive activities are likely to be influenced by the level of income in a country, it is hypothesized that environmental awareness and individual involvement in environmental protection need not be a function of the level of economic affluence. To test this hypothesis, three variables are created-Positive Environmental Attitudes, Willingness to Pay to Protect the Environment, and Human-Environment Relationship-using data from the World Values Survey (1995-1997). The variables are regressed against a set of economic, demographic, political, psychological and education variables. The results show that economic affluence has, at best, a marginal direct influence on environmental awareness and no direct impact on environmental behavior. The paper demonstrates that the degree of urbanization, the level of subjective well-being and the level of income equality have direct effects on awareness, while education, population pressure and happiness are significantly correlated with environmental behavior.

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    Paper provided by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics in its series Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics with number 0501.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:rpi:rpiwpe:0501

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    1. Martinez-Alier, J., 1995. "The environment as a luxury good or "too poor to be green"?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-10, April.
    2. Deepak Lal, 2001. "Unintended Consequences: The Impact of Factor Endowments, Culture, and Politics on Long-Run Economic Performance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262621541, December.
    3. Magnani, Elisabetta, 2000. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve, environmental protection policy and income distribution," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 431-443, March.
    4. Welsch, Heinz, 2002. "Preferences over Prosperity and Pollution: Environmental Valuation Based on Happiness Surveys," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 473-94.
    5. Goetz, Stephan J. & Debertin, David L. & Pagoulatos, Angelos, 1998. "Human Capital, Income, And Environmental Quality: A State-Level Analysis," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 27(2), October.
    6. Panayotou T, 1993. "Empirical tests and policy analysis of environmental degradation at different stages of economic development," ILO Working Papers 292778, International Labour Organization.
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