Dividing the pie in the eco-social state: Exploring the relationship between public support for environmental and welfare policies

Niklas Jakobsson, Raya Muttarak, Mi Ah Schoyen

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent theoretical literature in social policy argued that climate change posed a new risk to the
states and called for transformation from a traditional welfare state to an "eco" state. From a
theoretical point of view, different welfare regimes may manage environmental/climate change
risks in a similar way to social risks. However, not much has been done to explore the issue
empirically. To this end, this paper aims to investigate public attitudes towards environmental and
traditional welfare policies given that environmental change is a new social risk the welfare states
have to address. Do individuals that care for one area also care for the other? That is, do the
preferences in these two policy spheres complement or substitute one another? We test these
hypotheses both at the individual- and country-level, using data from 14 countries included in all
three waves (1993, 2000, and 2010) of the environmental module in the International Social
Survey Programme. Specifically, we investigate the relationship between attitudes towards
income redistribution (indicator of support for welfare policy) and willingness to pay for
environmental protection (indicator of support for environmental policy). Our findings suggest
that attitudes in the two areas are substitutes in the total sample, but that the relationship is very
small and only statistically significant in some specifications. When we explore country
differentials, we observe clear heterogeneity in the relationship, which can be explained by
differences in political and historical contexts across countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-339
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Politics and Space
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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