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

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  • 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
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    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 & Guardiola, Jorge, 2020. "Does it have to be a sacrifice? Different notions of the good life, pro-environmental behavior and their heterogeneous impact on well-being," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).
    3. 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.
    4. Anastasia Gkargkavouzi & George Halkos & Steriani Matsiori, 2019. "A Multi-dimensional Measure of Environmental Behavior: Exploring the Predictive Power of Connectedness to Nature, Ecological Worldview and Environmental Concern," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 143(2), pages 859-879, June.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Aiken, J. David, 2017. "Efficient Diffusion of Sustainable Environmental Practices through Green Networks," Cornhusker Economics 306987, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Agricultural Economics.
    9. Zhang, Jiaping & Cheng, Mingwang & Yu, Ning, 2020. "Internet Use and Lower Life Satisfaction: The Mediating Effect of Environmental Quality Perception," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 176(C).
    10. 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.
    11. Mansoora Ahmed & Sun Zehou & Syed Ali Raza & Muhammad Asif Qureshi & Sara Qamar Yousufi, 2020. "Impact of CSR and environmental triggers on employee green behavior: The mediating effect of employee well‐being," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 27(5), pages 2225-2239, September.
    12. Nazaret Ibáñez-Rueda & Mònica Guillén-Royo & Jorge Guardiola, 2020. "Pro-Environmental Behavior, Connectedness to Nature, and Wellbeing Dimensions among Granada Students," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(21), pages 1-16, November.
    13. Lea Barbett & Edward J. N. Stupple & Michael Sweet & Malcolm B. Schofield & Miles Richardson, 2020. "Measuring Actions for Nature—Development and Validation of a Pro-Nature Conservation Behaviour Scale," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(12), pages 1-20, June.
    14. Caterina Giannetti & Pietro Guarnieri & Tommaso Luzzati, 2021. "Pro-environmental attitude and behaviours: an investigation on the role of pro-sociality," Discussion Papers 2021/269, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. Yunhong Hao & Qamar Farooq & Yanni Zhang, 2018. "Unattended social wants and corporate social responsibility of leading firms: Relationship of intrinsic motivation of volunteering in proposed welfare programs and employee attributes," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 25(6), pages 1029-1038, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Life satisfaction; Environmental concerns; Volunteering; SOEP;
    All these keywords.

    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

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