The variety of actors potentially involved in LSCA is very large and includes nations, politicians, stakeholders, NGOs, resource users, consumers and firms. Clearly, the prospect of successful LSCA is dependent on the characteristics of these actors and the interactions among them. The characteristics of actors that facilitate successful small-scale collective action include small group sizes, clearly defined boundaries, shared norms, social capital, appropriate leadership and interdependence among group members.
As we have discussed, many of these prerequisites are not satisfied for global challenges. For example, the group size will by definition be large. This means that some of the other characteristics will be even more important. Therefore, a major task for the centre is to assess the importance of these and other factors or characteristics also for actors other than individuals, for example states, firms, and international organizations.
Here we only address a set of factors that we initially hypothesize to be important for successful LSCA, particularily among individuals. These are:
Trust. There are strong reasons to expect that political and institutional trust are important for shaping acceptance of policy measures that address highly complex and contested issues, such as CO2 emissions. In such cases, the public has to rely heavily on political elites and experts to accurately evaluate the need for, implementation of and enforcement of the policies.
Fairness. One important aspect of acceptance of policies is the perceived fairness of the policy, the best example perhaps being burden-sharing in relation to international climate agreements. Here, a major dilemma is how to distribute the responsibilities of reducing CO2 emissions among different countries with different levels of economic development. Another is to determine who should bear the costs.
Policy-specific beliefs. Attitude formation toward – and compliance with – a policy measure are dependent upon the perceived characteristics of the policy measure itself. Several attempts have therefore been made to incorporate policy-specific beliefs into models of environmental policy support, for example by capturing their effectiveness, effects on actors’ personal freedom and effects on actors’ personal outcome expectations.
Values. It is commonly argued that values, beliefs, and personal norms of behaviour (the VBN theory) are crucial determinants of both voluntary LSCA and policy support and compliance. The VBN theory is supported by a range of empirical evidence demonstrating how values-driven moral-normative concerns contribute significantly to the prediction of collective action.