Evaluating Political and Environmental Behavior in the Face of a Green Crisis: An Experimental Analysis
36 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 29 Aug 2011
Date Written: 2011
Incidents such as the Japanese Nuclear Meltdowns and the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico remind us that environmental issues can be central to activating political activity and influencing political opinions. While the literature suggesting a relationship between environ-mental risk and action is extensive, few scholars directly examine the relationship between perceived environmental threat and political behavior, and even fewer adopt research designs appropriate for making causal inferences. Building on a growing literature in political psychology that examines the effects of crises and emotions on political opinions, we examine the relation-ship between environmental threat and political behavior using both survey data and a lab experiment. Our results suggest that perceptions of threat can activate political and environmental behavior. Our research contributes to scholarship on environmental risk, as well as a growing body of research on the ways in which threat impact political behavior and attitudes.
Keywords: Environmental Politics, Threat, Environmental Preferences, Political Action
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