Do Economic Conditions Affect Climate Change Beliefs and Support for Climate Action? Evidence from the U.S. in the Wake of the Great Recession

70 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2020 Last revised: 17 Aug 2021

Date Written: June 19, 2020

Abstract

I show that climate skepticism increases with negative economic shocks and that effects are concentrated among individuals in the labor force. I primarily employ a panel of US individuals in the period following the Great Recession, but also find consistent results with an alternative instrumental variables strategy. Among labor force participants, a one percentage point increase in the local unemployment rate leads to a 3 to 5 percentage point decrease in the probability of believing climate change is real and requires action. I conclude that support for climate change policies could depend on labor market conditions.

Keywords: climate change, unemployment, belief formation, public opinion, Great Recession

JEL Classification: D78, D83, E24, E32, Q54

Suggested Citation

Meyer, Andrew, Do Economic Conditions Affect Climate Change Beliefs and Support for Climate Action? Evidence from the U.S. in the Wake of the Great Recession (June 19, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3631339 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3631339

Andrew Meyer (Contact Author)

Marquette University ( email )

1225 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53233
United States
414-288-5489 (Phone)

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