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The Psychology of accepting environmental policy measures: Assessing the role of social norms

Research project

Short description

Environmental policies need to be implemented in order to manage large scale collective problems and to reach long-term environmental goal. In the same time, many of these policies are unpopular among the public. This project investigates, in a series of experimental studies, the role of social norms in influencing public attitudes towards the measures. Based on a vast amount of studies supporting the impact of social norms, we hypothesize that acceptance of policy measures can be increased by highlighting how other people think and behave with regard to these measures.

Experimental studies analyzing causal influences on acceptability are largely lacking, the same applies to cross-disciplinary approaches. Thus, another major aim is to bring together social psychologists and political scientists to work on a set of population-based surveys on public acceptability. These surveys will include the most important variables in determining acceptability, including social norms. Different types of policies will be compared, making it possible to relate the impact of the factors on different types of polices. The significance concern the integration of a new and possible influential factor in research on acceptance; social norms. By using experimental techniques we can determine causal effects of different framings. By using large-scale surveys we can build compressive models of acceptance giving an enhanced input both to research and to practical political decision making.

Researchers (länkas till nya katalogen)

Niklas Harring and Sverker Jagers, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Andreas Nilsson, Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg and Simon Matti, Political Science Unit, Luleå University of Technology.