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Sustainability 2013, 5(1), 210-227; doi:10.3390/su5010210
Article

Should We Trust in Values? Explaining Public Support for Pro-Environmental Taxes

1,*  and 2
1 Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sprängkullsgatan 19, P.O. Box 711, SE 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden 2 Political Science Unit, Luleå University of Technology & Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sprängkullsgatan 19, P.O. Box 711, SE 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 November 2012 / Revised: 24 December 2012 / Accepted: 1 January 2013 / Published: 16 January 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Government Policy and Sustainability)
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Abstract

In this paper we are concerned with what explains public acceptance and support of environmental taxes. We examine findings in environmental psychology emphasizing that people’s (environmental) value-orientation is the dominant driver determining individuals’ support for pro-environmental policy instruments. We introduce a complementary model, mainly drawing upon findings in political science, suggesting that people’s support for policy instruments is dependent on their level of political trust and their trust in other citizens. More specifically, we analyze whether political trust and inter-personal trust affect individuals’ support for an increased carbon dioxide tax in Sweden, while checking their value orientation, self-interest, and various socio-economic values. We make use of survey data obtained from a mail questionnaire sent out to a random sample of 3,000 individuals in 2009. We find that apart from people’s values, beliefs, and norms, both political trust and interpersonal trust have significant effects on people's attitudes toward an increased tax on carbon dioxide.
Keywords: sustainable development; environment; environmental politics; values; trust; policy instruments sustainable development; environment; environmental politics; values; trust; policy instruments
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Harring, N.; Jagers, S.C. Should We Trust in Values? Explaining Public Support for Pro-Environmental Taxes. Sustainability 2013, 5, 210-227.

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