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Testing the Importance of Individuals' Motives for Explaining Environmentally Significant Behavior

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Sverker C. Jagers
Stefan Linde
Johan Martinsson
Simon Matti
Publicerad i Social Science Quarterly
Volym 98
Nummer/häfte 2
Sidor 644-658
ISSN 0038-4941
Publiceringsår 2017
Publicerad vid Statsvetenskapliga institutionen
Sidor 644-658
Språk en
Länkar doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.12321
Ämneskategorier Statsvetenskap (exklusive studier av offentlig förvaltning och globaliseringsstudier)

Sammanfattning

© 2016 Southwestern Social Science Association.Objective: This article explores how different motives affect behavior, and attempts to explain how the causal chain of values and beliefs forms our understanding of and motives for private-sphere environmentally significant behaviors (ESBs). As a point of departure, we postulate that traditional models focusing primarily on individual-level motivation as a driver for ESB should benefit significantly from making a distinction in the dependent variable between: (1) behaviors that are explicitly pro-environmental, judging both by their outcomes and the individual's stated motives for undertaking them; (2) behaviors that have a positive environmental impact but that are connected to motives other than environmental ones; as well as (3) behaviors where both environmental and other motives coincide as drivers for ESB. Methods: In order to answer our research questions, we use survey data collected from a random sample from the Swedish population register. The main dependent variable is the self-reported frequency of 12 different kinds of nonactivist, private-sphere behaviors. We employ ordinary least square regressions to analyze the explanatory strength of individual-level motivational factors for ESB when taking stated motives for behavior into account. Results and Conclusion: The results support our main assumption that to explain drivers for ESB, stated motives should be taken into account. For all of the 12 ESBs in the survey, a considerable share of the respondents do not perceive or motivate behavior as pro-environmentalism at all, and others provide multiple motives for their behavior, combining, for example, economic or health with environmentalism. Furthermore, when analyzing the relationship between a scientifically well-established model aspiring to explain pro-environmental behavior, and individuals' behavioral perceptions and their stated behavior, we find that the explanatory power of this model is clearly sensitive to people's stated motives.

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