Much of the contemporary research surrounding preferences for enhanced environmentalquality considers broad theoretical approaches that may explain cross-country differences inattitudes. The first is an emphasis on post-material values, where prosperity and/or the challengeof local environmental issues lead to a demand for better environmental quality. The second isthat preferences for a better environment are much more disperse across rich and poor countries,and even among the rich and poor within individual countries. This is the globalization versionof environmental awareness. Finally, a third approach stems from the economics literature,whereby environmental quality is a public good that people are willing to pay for as incomesrise, but potentially at a declining rate. Within the domain of local environmental issues (such asregional air or water conditions, as opposed to global warming), empirical evidence has largelyconfirmed the inverted-U curve that is generally thought to link per-capita wealth andenvironmental concern. Franzen and Meyer (2010) address these in turn and note that aspects ofeach could contribute to growing environmental concern. They discuss some individual- andnation-level variables that may have an effect as well, such as age, gender, political or religiousactivity, income inequality, and visibility of environmental problems.Missing from the literature so far, however, is a closer look at variables such as the levelof education, its interaction with other socio-demographic variables, the householdcharacteristics (marriage status, number of children), and cohort effects. Furthermore, thesefactors may have differential effects between developed and developing countries or othercountry strata.II Data and Research methodsThe World Values Survey (WVS) obtains data from nationally representative samples of thecitizens from over a hundred countries. Using individual responses from the most recent threewaves (1995-1998, 2000-2004, 2005-2009) of the WVS, we create various measures ofenvironmental concern, such as willingness to pay for environmental improvement, rankingenvironmental protection against economic growth, and personal environmental actions, among others.
the contemporary research surrounding preferences for enhanced environmental quality