Understanding how economic conditions and natural disasters shape environmental attitudes

A cross-country comparison to inform policy making

Understanding adults’ attitudes towards the environment is necessary to gauge the opportunities and challenges of creating effective and politically-feasible climate policies. Using data from the Wellcome Global Monitor 2020, the European Social Survey (Round 8), World Values Survey and EM-DAT, this paper examines how adults’ environmental attitudes vary within and across countries and details how environmental attitudes are associated with adults’ engagement in pro-environmental behaviours and support for environmentally-friendly policies. The paper explores whether the extent to which individuals prioritise the environment over the state of the economy or vice versa depends on individuals’ exposure to natural disasters or negative labour market conditions. Results indicate that people’s economic vulnerability and the sectors they work in impact their attitudes towards their environment and support for public policy. Furthermore, the findings suggest that increases in unemployment and exposure to natural disasters influence the extent to which individuals prioritise the environment.

Published on November 08, 2022

In series:OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papersview more titles