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The Endogenous Formation of an Environmental Culture

  • Ingmar Schumacher

This model provides a mechanism explaining the surge in environmental culture across the globe. We discuss empirical evidence on the determinants of environmental culture and preferences. Based upon this empirical evidence, we develop an overlapping generations model with environmental quality and endogenous environmental culture. The model predicts that for low wealth levels, society is unable to free resources for environmental culture. In this case, society will only invest in environmental maintenance if environmental quality is sufficiently low. Once society has reached a certain level of economic development, then it may optimally invest a part of its wealth in developing an environmental culture. Environmental culture has not only a positive impact on environmental quality through lower levels of consumption, but it improves the environment through maintenance expenditure for wealth-environment combinations at which, in a restricted model without environmental culture, no maintenance would be undertaken. Environmental culture leads to a society with a higher indirect utility at steady state in comparison to the restricted model. Our model leads us to the conclusion that, for societies trapped in a situation with low environmental quality, investments in culture may induce positive feedback loops, where more culture raises environmental quality which in turn raises environmental culture. We also discuss how environmental culture may lead to an Environmental Kuznets Curve.

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Paper provided by European University at St. Petersburg, Department of Economics in its series CEEES Paper Series with number CE3S-04/13.

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Length: 63 pages
Date of creation: 07 Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eus:ce3swp:0413
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