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Environmental Attitudes in Cross-National Perspective: A Multilevel Analysis of the ISSP 1993 and 2000

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Franzen Axel , Meyer Reto ,
Project MOSAiCH 2011
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal European Sociological Review
Page(s) 219 - 234
Title of proceedings European Sociological Review
DOI 10.1093/esr/jcp018


This article discusses the determinants and the development of public concern for the state of the natural environment. First, we review some theoretical approaches that try to explain individual as well as cross-national differences in environmental attitudes. Particularly, we discuss Inglehart's theory of post-materialism, Dunlap and Mertig's globalization explanation, and the prosperity hypothesis. Second, we test these hypotheses by applying multilevel analysis to the International Social Survey Programme {(ISSP)} data from the years 1993 and 2000. The results support, above all, the prosperity hypothesis. Individuals with higher relative income within countries display higher levels of environmental concern than their compatriots, and additionally, more concern is reported in wealthier countries than in poorer nations. The results indicate that environmental concern is also closely associated with post-materialistic attitudes and various socio-demographic variables. Comparing the environmental concern measured in the {ISSP} in 1993 with that in 2000 shows that environmental concern has more or less stabilized since the early 1990s in the countries under scrutiny.