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

Journal article
Authors Niklas Harring
Sverker C. Jagers
Published in Sustainability
Volume 5
Issue 1
Pages 210-227
ISSN 2071-1050
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 210-227
Language en
Subject categories Political Science


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.

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