ECPR General Conference
Universität Hamburg, Hamburg
22 - 25 August 2018

The Role of Cultural Differences in Explaining Public Belief in Human-Made Climate Change and National Climate Policy Ambition

Sebastian Levi
Freie Universität Berlin
Sebastian Levi
Freie Universität Berlin

Building on survey-data from around 130 countries, this paper discusses why the public belief in human-made climate change differs vastly across countries and how this varying level of public belief in turn influences national climate policy ambition. It focuses particularly on the concept of “Epistemic Resonance”, arguing that countries are more likely to adopt a certain transnational belief if that belief resonates well with prior-existing domestic cultural world-views. In the case of human-made climate change, the analysis shows that countries are more likely to believe in human-made climate change if they display higher levels of environmentalist, anticapitalistic, or anticolonial values. This domestic level of public-belief in human-made climate change again is one of the most important predictors of national climate policy ambition.
From a methods perspective, this paper also discusses challenges arising from dissatisfactory data availability in cross-national statistical analysis of norms and values. In particular, it discusses using multiple imputation to combine similar data from different value survey (here: World Values Survey, European Values Survey, and Latinobarómetro) as a strategy to increase the number of observations and minimize bias.
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"...the good of man must be the objective of the science of politics" - Aristotle

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