How does an economic shock affect environmental attitudes, preferences and issue importance? Evidence from Switzerland

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2024
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Gomm, Sarah
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Climatic Change. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. 2024, 177(4), 63. ISSN 0165-0009. eISSN 1573-1480. Available under: doi: 10.1007/s10584-024-03709-2
Zusammenfassung

How do economic shocks affect pressure by the mass public for pro-environmental political action? If democratic systems are to develop and sustain ambitious environmental policy over several decades, this question is important to answer. Theoretically, we argue to look beyond changes in attitudes such as environmental concern, and trace whether and how citizen's policy preferences, and the political importance they attach to environment-related issues change when experiencing a deterioration of their personal economic situation. Empirically, we draw on high-quality population-representative panel survey data for an affluent country, Switzerland, combining tailored survey measures for quasi-random Corona-related employment and income losses, nuanced measures of environmental attitudes and policy preferences, and recently developed measures for issue importance. We neither find a decline of environmental policy support among economically affected individuals compared to the rest of the population (a population wide drop, however), nor lower importance given to environment related relative to economic issues in voting decisions. While this suggests that politicians need not fear electoral losses when pursuing environmental policies in times of economic crisis, we note that the severe extent of the Covid-induced recession, coupled with a rapid recovery, is peculiar to this economic crisis and warrants further research regarding the generalizability of our findings to economic shocks of longer duration.

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320 Politik
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Economic shock, Covid-19, Environmental concern, Environmental voting, Issue importance, Panel data, Survey experiment
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ISO 690RUDOLPH, Lukas, Sarah GOMM, 2024. How does an economic shock affect environmental attitudes, preferences and issue importance? Evidence from Switzerland. In: Climatic Change. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. 2024, 177(4), 63. ISSN 0165-0009. eISSN 1573-1480. Available under: doi: 10.1007/s10584-024-03709-2
BibTex
@article{Rudolph2024-04econo-69793,
  year={2024},
  doi={10.1007/s10584-024-03709-2},
  title={How does an economic shock affect environmental attitudes, preferences and issue importance? Evidence from Switzerland},
  number={4},
  volume={177},
  issn={0165-0009},
  journal={Climatic Change},
  author={Rudolph, Lukas and Gomm, Sarah},
  note={Article Number: 63}
}
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