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The Effects of Higher Education in Economics, Law and Political Science on Perceptions of Responsibility and Sustainability

Chapter in book
Authors Niklas Harring
Cecilia Lundholm
Tomas Torbjörnsson
Published in Leal Filho et al. (eds.), Handbook of Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development in Higher Education
Pages 159-170
ISBN 978-3-319-47867-8
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Cham, Switzerland
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 159-170
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47868-...
Keywords Higher education, Sustainability, Political Science, Law, Economics
Subject categories Political Science, Educational Sciences

Abstract

Problems of environmental degradation are often conceptualized in terms of collective action dilemmas, and imply an increased demand for coordination and steering by public authorities. Social science is struggling with understanding how attitudes to collective action dilemmas and state intervention actually are formed. In the literature on environmental attitude formation, education is often claimed to be an important factor. It is argued for example that people with university degrees develop certain values essential for beliefs about personal responsibility and concern for the environment. Still there are a number of questions unanswered. For example, we know little about the effects of different educational programs. In this study we test the hypotheses by using a unique longitudinal data set based on surveys distributed to students in economics, law, and political science at seven universities in Sweden. Our results show a slight decrease in ascribed personal responsibility for environmental protection among the students after one semester. Instead, students ascribe an increased responsibility to various institutions and actors

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