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Higher education, norm development, and environmental protection

Journal article
Authors Niklas Harring
Sverker C. Jagers
Simon Matti
Published in Higher Education
Volume 79
Pages 291-305
ISSN 0018-1560
Publication year 2020
Published at CECAR - Centre for Collective Action Research
Department of Political Science
Pages 291-305
Language en
Keywords Higher education Sustainable development Values Norms Policy support
Subject categories Political Science


There is a debate on whether higher education in the social sciences generates stronger democratic and environmental norms among students. In our study, we focus on students’ perceptions about legitimate rule in the case of environmental protection. We contribute to this debate by using a unique longitudinal data set from seven universities and university colleges in Sweden. Our results show that higher education in the social sciences does not generate stronger democratic or environmental norms, at least not in the case of environmental protection. We discuss why this is the case and refine our results further by looking at individual-level factors, such as gender and ideology.

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