IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/ecolec/v124y2016icp1-16.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Environmental concerns, volunteering and subjective well-being: Antecedents and outcomes of environmental activism in Germany

Author

Listed:
  • Binder, Martin
  • Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin

Abstract

Do perceptions about the state of the environment impact on individuals' well-being and do they lead to environmental activism? While the impact of objective features of the environment (e.g., pollution, parks) is well-researched, the present paper fills a research gap by analyzing how concerns about the environment impact on subjective well-being. Based on German panel data (SOEP) for the years 1984–2012, we show that egoistic concerns have a negative impact on subjective well-being while altruistic concerns are positively associated with well-being, an effect likely driven by omitting variables for environmental activism such as volunteer work. We show that environmental concerns also lead to an increased propensity to volunteer and such volunteering is positively associated with well-being, but only for those who are very concerned about the environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Binder, Martin & Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin, 2016. "Environmental concerns, volunteering and subjective well-being: Antecedents and outcomes of environmental activism in Germany," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 1-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:124:y:2016:i:c:p:1-16
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.01.009
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800915302792
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chenyang Xiao & Riley E. Dunlap, 2007. "Validating a Comprehensive Model of Environmental Concern Cross‐Nationally: A U.S.‐Canadian Comparison," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 88(2), pages 471-493, June.
    2. Chai, Andreas & Bradley, Graham & Lo, Alex & Reser, Joseph, 2015. "What time to adapt? The role of discretionary time in sustaining the climate change value–action gap," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 95-107.
    3. Welsch, Heinz, 2007. "Environmental welfare analysis: A life satisfaction approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 544-551, May.
    4. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Hypertension and happiness across nations," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 218-233, March.
    5. Krueger, Alan B. & Schkade, David A., 2008. "The reliability of subjective well-being measures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1833-1845, August.
    6. Shiv, Baba & Huber, Joel, 2000. " The Impact of Anticipating Satisfaction on Consumer Choice," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(2), pages 202-216, September.
    7. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    8. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2005. "Happiness Research: State and Prospects," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(2), pages 207-228.
    9. Ziemek, Susanne, 2006. "Economic analysis of volunteers' motivations--A cross-country study," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 532-555, June.
    10. Maddison, David & Rehdanz, Katrin, 2011. "The impact of climate on life satisfaction," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(12), pages 2437-2445.
    11. Conchita D'Ambrosio & Joachim R. Frick, 2012. "Individual Wellbeing in a Dynamic Perspective," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 79(314), pages 284-302, April.
    12. Joseph Stiglitz & Amartya K. Sen & Jean-Paul Fitoussi, 2009. "The measurement of economic performance and social progress revisited: Reflections and Overview," Sciences Po publications 2009-33, Sciences Po.
    13. Unger, Lynette S., 1991. "Altruism as a motivation to volunteer," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 71-100, March.
    14. Aklin, Michaël & Bayer, Patrick & Harish, S.P. & Urpelainen, Johannes, 2013. "Understanding environmental policy preferences: New evidence from Brazil," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 28-36.
    15. Heinz Welsch & Jan Kühling, 2009. "Using Happiness Data For Environmental Valuation: Issues And Applications," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(2), pages 385-406, April.
    16. Andrew E. Clark & Richard Layard & Claudia Senik, 2012. "The causes of happiness and misery," Post-Print halshs-00846583, HAL.
    17. M. Fleurbaey., 2012. "Beyond GDP: The Quest for a Measure of Social Welfare," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 3.
    18. Prouteau, Lionel & Wolff, François-Charles, 2008. "On the relational motive for volunteer work," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 314-335, June.
    19. Martin Binder, 2015. "Volunteering and life satisfaction: a closer look at the hypothesis that volunteering more strongly benefits the unhappy," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(11), pages 874-885, July.
    20. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/5l6uh8ogmqildh09h4687h53k is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
    22. Rehdanz, Katrin & Maddison, David, 2005. "Climate and happiness," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 111-125, January.
      • Katrin Rehdanz & David J. Maddison, 2003. "Climate and Happiness," Working Papers FNU-20, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Apr 2003.
    23. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
    24. Li, Zhengtao & Folmer, Henk & Xue, Jianhong, 2014. "To what extent does air pollution affect happiness? The case of the Jinchuan mining area, China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 88-99.
    25. Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 39-59, February.
    26. Bruce Headey & Ruud Muffels & Mark Wooden, 2004. "Money Doesn't Buy Happiness … or Does It? A Reconsideration Based on the Combined Effects of Wealth, Income and Consumption," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2004n15, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    27. Huang, Jian & Maassen van den Brink, Henriëtte & Groot, Wim, 2009. "A meta-analysis of the effect of education on social capital," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 454-464, August.
    28. Katrin Rehdanz & Welsch Heinz & Daiju Naritaa & Toshihiro Okubod, 2013. "Well-being effects of a major negative externality: The case of Fukushima," Working Papers V-358-13, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2013.
    29. Jan Goebel & Christian Krekel & Tim Tiefenbach & Nicholas R. Ziebarth, 2014. "Natural Disaster, Environmental Concerns, Well-Being and Policy Action," CINCH Working Paper Series 1405, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health.
    30. Martin Binder & Felix Ward, 2013. "The Structure of Subjective Well-being: A Vector Autoregressive Approach," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 361-400, May.
    31. John Helliwell, 2007. "Well-Being and Social Capital: Does Suicide Pose a Puzzle?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 81(3), pages 455-496, May.
    32. Torgler, Benno & Garcia-Valinas, Maria A., 2007. "The determinants of individuals' attitudes towards preventing environmental damage," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2-3), pages 536-552, August.
    33. Bernard M. S. van Praag & Barbara E. Baarsma, 2005. "Using Happiness Surveys to Value Intangibles: The Case of Airport Noise," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 224-246, January.
    34. van Praag, B. M. S. & Frijters, P. & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A., 2003. "The anatomy of subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 29-49, May.
    35. Luechinger, Simon & Raschky, Paul A., 2009. "Valuing flood disasters using the life satisfaction approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 620-633, April.
    36. Joseph E. Stiglitz & Amartya Sen & Jean-Paul Fitoussi, 2009. "The measurement of economic performance and social progress revisited," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2009-33, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    37. Welsch, Heinz & Biermann, Philipp, 2014. "Fukushima and the preference for nuclear power in Europe: Evidence from subjective well-being data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 171-179.
    38. A. Colin Cameron & Pravin K. Trivedi, 2010. "Microeconometrics Using Stata, Revised Edition," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, number musr, April.
    39. Welsch, Heinz, 2002. "Preferences over Prosperity and Pollution: Environmental Valuation Based on Happiness Surveys," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 473-494.
    40. Axel Franzen, 2003. "Environmental Attitudes in International Comparison: An Analysis of the ISSP Surveys 1993 and 2000," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 84(2), pages 297-308, June.
    41. Eva M. Berger, 2010. "The Chernobyl Disaster, Concern about the Environment, and Life Satisfaction," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 1-8, February.
    42. Meyer, Andrew, 2015. "Does education increase pro-environmental behavior? Evidence from Europe," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 108-121.
    43. Juncal Cuñado & Fernando Gracia, 2013. "Environment and Happiness: New Evidence for Spain," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 112(3), pages 549-567, July.
    44. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Gowdy, John M., 2007. "Environmental degradation and happiness," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 509-516, January.
    45. Urban, Jan & Ščasný, Milan, 2012. "Exploring domestic energy-saving: The role of environmental concern and background variables," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 69-80.
    46. Welsch, Heinz, 2006. "Environment and happiness: Valuation of air pollution using life satisfaction data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 801-813, July.
    47. Binder, Martin & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Volunteering, subjective well-being and public policy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 97-119.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Martin Binder, 2017. "Entrepreneurial Success and Subjective Well-Being: Worries about the Business Explain One's Well-Being Loss from Self-Employment," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 947, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Binder, Martin & Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin, 2017. "Green lifestyles and subjective well-being: More about self-image than actual behavior?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 304-323.
    3. Hoffmann, Stefan & Balderjahn, Ingo & Seegebarth, Barbara & Mai, Robert & Peyer, Mathias, 2018. "Under Which Conditions Are Consumers Ready to Boycott or Buycott? The Roles of Hedonism and Simplicity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 167-178.
    4. Gianluca Grilli, 2017. "Renewable energy and willingness to pay: Evidences from a meta-analysis," ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2017(1-2), pages 253-271.
    5. Lane, Tom, 2017. "How does happiness relate to economic behaviour? A review of the literature," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 62-78.
    6. Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin & Alhusen, Harm, 2019. "On the determinants of pro-environmental behavior: A literature review and guide for the empirical economist," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 350, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    7. Binder, Martin & Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin & Guardiola, Jorge, 2019. "Does it have to be a sacrifice? Different notions of the good life, pro-environmental behavior and their heterogeneous impact on well-being," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 366, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    8. Mock, Mirijam & Omann, Ines & Polzin, Christine & Spekkink, Wouter & Schuler, Julia & Pandur, Vlad & Brizi, Ambra & Panno, Angelo, 2019. "“Something inside me has been set in motion”: Exploring the psychological wellbeing of people engaged in sustainability initiatives," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 1-11.
    9. Maggioni, Daniela & Santangelo, Grazia D., 2017. "Local Environmental Non-Profit Organizations and the Green Investment Strategies of Family Firms," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 126-138.
    10. Hoffmann, Stefan & Mai, Robert & Lasarov, Wassili & Krause, Jan S. & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2019. "Hungry bellies have no ears. How and why hunger inhibits sustainable consumption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 96-104.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life satisfaction; Environmental concerns; Volunteering; SOEP;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:124:y:2016:i:c:p:1-16. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.