Interests, Norms, and Mass Support for International Climate Policy

Michael M. Bechtel

Washington University in Saint Louis

Federica Genovese

University of Essex

Kenneth Scheve

Stanford University

April 30, 2016

Mitigating climate change requires countries to provide a global public good. This means that the domestic cleavages underlying mass attitudes toward international climate policy are a central determinant of its provision. We argue that the industry-specific costs of emission abatement and internalized social norms help explain support for climate policy. To evaluate our predictions we develop novel measures of industry-specific interests by cross-referencing individuals' sectors of employment and objective industry-level pollution data and employ quasi-behavioral measures of social norms in combination with both correlational and conjoint-experimental data. We find that individuals working in pollutive industries are 7 percentage points less likely to support climate cooperation than individuals employed in cleaner sectors. Our results also suggest that reciprocal and altruistic individuals are about 10 percentage points more supportive of global climate policy. These findings indicate that both interests and norms function as complementary explanations that improve our understanding of individual policy preferences.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 69

Keywords: climate cooperation, public opinion, environmental politics, international relations, norms, interests, experiments

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: November 20, 2014 ; Last revised: May 1, 2016

Suggested Citation

Bechtel, Michael M. and Genovese, Federica and Scheve, Kenneth, Interests, Norms, and Mass Support for International Climate Policy (April 30, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2528466 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2528466

Contact Information

Michael M. Bechtel (Contact Author)
Washington University in Saint Louis ( email )
Campus Box 1063
One Brookings Drive
Saint Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States
Federica Genovese
University of Essex ( email )
Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom
Kenneth F. Scheve
Stanford University ( email )
Stanford, CA 94305
United States
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 645
Downloads: 124
Download Rank: 181,197