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Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 39; doi:10.3390/su9010039

The Effect of Elite Polarization: A Comparative Perspective on How Party Elites Influence Attitudes and Behavior on Climate Change in the European Union

Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Box 711, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
Academic Editor: Gerrit Antonides
Received: 21 October 2016 / Revised: 18 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 28 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [220 KB, uploaded 28 December 2016]

Abstract

There is considerable variability in attitudes towards climate change between citizens of different countries. By using individual-level and country-level data, I examine if this variability in public opinion is partially caused by political party elites. The results show that when elites are united in their support for environmental issues, the perceived threat of climate change is higher than in countries where party elites are divided. The results also demonstrate that the perceived threat influences behavior related to climate change, and that threat mediates the effect of party positions. Consequently, the effect of party elites is stronger than previously acknowledged. The models rely on Generalized Method of Moments estimation and instrumental variables with clustering on EU member-states. View Full-Text
Keywords: party cues; elite influence; threat; climate change party cues; elite influence; threat; climate change
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. (CC BY 4.0).

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Sohlberg, J. The Effect of Elite Polarization: A Comparative Perspective on How Party Elites Influence Attitudes and Behavior on Climate Change in the European Union. Sustainability 2017, 9, 39.

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