Altruism and the Demand for Environmental Quality
This paper asks whether individuals consider the value that future generations will receive from environmental quality when deciding what level of environmental protection to provide. Using data on life expectancy, I develop two tests for altruism towards future generations. One, a test for strong altruism, asks whether individual motives are purely altruistic when deciding to provide environmental quality. The second, a test for weak altruism, combines an individual’ s concern for both self-interest and the interest of future generations. Using data from a Washington Post survey on environmental attitudes to implement the test, I find evidence of weak altruism.
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