Pushing A Green Agenda: Explaining Shifting Public Support For Environmental Spending
Author ORCID Identifier
Political Research Quarterly
Although mass opinion on many political issues is generally stable, Americans’ beliefs about environmentalism have undergone dramatic changes in recent decades. Many studies of attitudinal change identify cohort- or period-based effects as contributing to large-scale opinion changes. However, limited research exists that considers both explanations simultaneously. This study estimates variability in environmental spending support across cohort and periods while also testing the role of compositional and contextual causes of this variability. Our findings contribute to understanding mass opinion change, as well as variations in the American public’s concern about the environment. Furthermore, the modeling approach addresses the question of which macro- and micro-level characteristics are influential for pushing forward a green agenda. The evidence presented casts doubt on studies that see pro-environmentalism as dependent on personal or national wealth as well as findings that view shifts in concern as stemming from generational replacement. Yet, among the major explanations identified in public opinion research, we find support for elite cues and, to a lesser degree, subjective economic security as important factors that drive shifts in public concern about the environment. Given these results, we argue that theories of postmaterialist environmentalism and theories of global environmentalism are incomplete on their own.
environmentalism, generational, opinion change, period, trends
Clark, April K. and Carlisle, Juliet E., "Pushing A Green Agenda: Explaining Shifting Public Support For Environmental Spending" (2019). NIU Bibliography. 162.
Department of Political Science