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Credible friends helps following environmental laws

Published: 12 August 2013

Professor Sverker Jagers, Luleå University of Technology, is studying, how personal values in conjunction with the credibility of politicians and other people affect how high acceptance people have for a higher carbon tax.

The fact that people have "green" values ​​are not always linked solely to a desire to protect the environment.

- Only 30 to 40 percent do so out of concern for the environment, says Sverker Jagers. Otherwise, people have other reasons. To stop eating meat, has for example, often to do with concern about your personal health and finances more than with purely environmental reasons.

Sverker Jagers and research colleague Niklas Harring recently unveiled a new model for how the acceptance of environmental policy instruments can be increased by citizens. The model focuses on increasing the carbon tax and is based on political science research around human credence to politicians and other citizens. It complements previous environmental psychology models where people's values, attitudes and norms largely considered controlling the impact of taxes, laws, etc.

The study shows that high confidence in politicians and in other people have a great impact on people's attitudes to an increase in carbon tax, says Sverker Jagers. If everyone we know is for an increase can sometimes be more important than one's commitment to the environment. In Sweden, confidence in politicians and authorities generally is high. In a society like this economic governance often is succesful. In developing countries, our research shows that people are more likely to accept powerful environmental laws supplemented with severe penalties. Studies also show that high-income democracies manage the environment better - except when it comes to carbon emissions.

In the future Sverker Jagers like to see increased research collaboration with technical subjects, a combination which he believes can provide new and broad-based solutions to environmental problems.


Professor Sverker Jagers

Political science at LTU