Acceptance of Higher Taxes for the Environment: A Cross-National and Multilevel Study Based on Seven Years of Data from ISSP and WVS Surveys

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Environmental concern, multilevel regression, cross-national analyses, WVS, ISSP

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Research on how the public is willing to make sacrifices for the environment is increasingly prominent worldwide. For most cross-national studies, researchers used either one year’s worth of data or multiple years of data but focused exclusively on World Values Survey (WVS) or International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) data. The conclusions drawn from these studies are not generalizable because a similar pattern might not occur for other years. The different compositions of the two surveys is also an issue. To fill this gap, we conduct multilevel regression on seven waves of data (4 waves of WVS and 3 waves of ISSP). We complement the existing literature by identifying a number of country-level (economic affluence and economic globalization) and individual-level factors (postmaterialist values, political ideology, trust, income, and education) that have consistent effects on people’s willingness to pay higher taxes for the environment across years and surveys. We also identify the effect of interaction variables across levels. This study has policy implications because successful implementation of environmental regulations largely depends on public support. According to the findings we suggest policies that promote economic development and economic globalization; highlight environmentalism and disseminate postmaterialist values; foster trust and social integration; and endorse education to promote one’s willingness to make sacrifices for the environment.

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International Journal of Sociology, v. 48, issue 4, p. 340-365