GPS Presents- Drs. Michaël Aklin and Iza Ding: Understanding Environmental Concern in China

January 12, 2018
4430 WW Posvar Hall from 12:00-1:30pm

Understanding Environmental Concern in China

China is the world's largest CO2 and probably SO2 emitter. The country's appetite for sound environmental regulations will therefore have significant implications for the world's welfare. Recently, environmental problems have become a major policy issue in domestic politics. They have generated major health alerts and, in some regions, even social unrest. Yet we know little about the population's views on environmental problems. Using recently released survey data, we examine the determinants of environmental concern. In contrast to findings from industrialized countries, which identify income as its main determinant, we show that education is a particularly crucial factor. We show that these results are reflective of a wider trend in developing countries. Finally, we conduct a series of survey experiment to tease out the mechanisms that explain why more educated individuals are more concerned by environmental degradation.