IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Pan-European patterns of environmental concern: the role of proximity and international integration


  • Heinz Welsch

    () (University of Oldenburg)

  • Jan Kühling

    () (University of Oldenburg)


Abstract While previous literature has studied the characteristics of populations and nations that shape cross-national patterns of environmental concern, one feature that may affect such patterns has largely been neglected in those studies: countries’ connectedness. This paper uses data for more than 260,000 individuals in 34 European countries, 2002–2013, to study how nations’ geographic, cultural, institutional, and economic proximity affect cross-national differences in environment-related attitudes. Borrowing from the literature on international policy diffusion, we hypothesize that citizens have more similar environmental attitudes if their countries are more proximate along those dimensions. Controlling for countries’ demographic, economic, and environmental characteristics, we find that countries that are more proximate in terms of geography, common culture and institutions, and intensity of trade relations have more similar environmental attitudes. Though we find a general cross-national divergence of environmental attitudes over the period considered, cultural and institutional proximity attenuate or reverse this trend. The significant role of proximity and connectedness suggests that the prospects for international coordination of environmental policies are most favorable within sufficiently integrated sets of countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Heinz Welsch & Jan Kühling, 2017. "Pan-European patterns of environmental concern: the role of proximity and international integration," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 7(4), pages 473-489, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jenvss:v:7:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s13412-017-0441-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s13412-017-0441-x

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sandra T. Marquart-Pyatt, 2008. "Are There Similar Sources of Environmental Concern? Comparing Industrialized Countries," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1312-1335.
    2. Martin, William C. & Bateman, Connie R., 2014. "Consumer religious commitment's influence on ecocentric attitudes and behavior," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 5-11.
    3. Fred C. Pampel, 2014. "The Varied Influence of SES on Environmental Concern," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 95(1), pages 57-75, March.
    4. Frey, Bruno S. & Benesch, Christine & Stutzer, Alois, 2007. "Does watching TV make us happy?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 283-313, June.
    5. 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.
    6. Michael T. Dorsch, 2014. "Economic Development and Determinants of Environmental Concern," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 95(4), pages 960-977, December.
    7. Sophie Perrin & Thomas Bernauer, 2010. "International regime formation revisited: Explaining ratification behaviour with respect to long-range transboundary air pollution agreements in Europe," European Union Politics, , vol. 11(3), pages 405-426, September.
    8. Jinhua Cui & Hoje Jo & Manuel Velasquez, 2015. "The Influence of Christian Religiosity on Managerial Decisions Concerning the Environment," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 203-231, November.
    9. Holzinger, Katharina & Knill, Christoph & Sommerer, Thomas, 2008. "Environmental Policy Convergence: The Impact of International Harmonization, Transnational Communication, and Regulatory Competition," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(04), pages 553-587, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecolec:v:149:y:2018:i:c:p:105-119 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Environmental preference; Environmental concern; Proximity; Connectedness; International integration;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Z31 - Other Special Topics - - Tourism Economics - - - Industry Studies


    Access and download statistics


    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:spr:jenvss:v:7:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s13412-017-0441-x. 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: (Sonal Shukla) or (Mallaigh Nolan). General contact details of provider: .

    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.