Culture and Environment in the Pacific Northwest

American Political Science Review, Vol. 91, No. 4, pp. 885-897, December 1997

13 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2008  

Richard Ellis

Department of Politics

Fred Thompson

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Abstract

Douglas and Wildavsky argue that environmental activism is rooted in an egalitarian cultural bias. Others, like Paehlke, counter that environmental commitments and concerns are autonomous from redistributive concerns. Students of the "New Politics" agree that environmentalism is autonomous from conventional left-right distributive concerns but also argue that environmental attitudes and beliefs are embedded in 'postmaterial' values, such as citizen participation. Still other scholars emphasize a cultural consensus around environmental values and beliefs. What distinguishes environmental activists, in this view, is less what they believe than their willingness to make sacrifices for those values and beliefs. Drawing upon several surveys of environmental groups and the mass public in the Pacific Northwest, we test these four hypotheses and find that the Douglas-Wildavsky "cultural theory," although not without its limitations, appears to provide the more satisfactory account of environmental preferences. We think that this goes a long way toward explaining the persistent opposition of environmental activists to the use of market-oriented incentive mechanisms to fix environmental problems.

Keywords: environmental activism, cultural theory, market-oriented incentive mechanisms

JEL Classification: A13, D78, Q28, Q29, Q38, Q39, P16

Suggested Citation

Ellis, Richard and Thompson, Fred, Culture and Environment in the Pacific Northwest. American Political Science Review, Vol. 91, No. 4, pp. 885-897, December 1997. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1123672

Richard A. Ellis

Department of Politics ( email )

Salem, OR
United States

Fred Thompson (Contact Author)

Willamette University - Atkinson Graduate School of Management ( email )

900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301
United States
503-370-6228 (Phone)
503-370-3011 (Fax)

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