Do Greens Drive Hummers or Hybrids? Environmental Ideology as a Determinant of Consumer Choice and the Aggregate Ecological Footprint

45 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2006

See all articles by Matthew E. Kahn

Matthew E. Kahn

University of Southern California; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2006

Abstract

The environmental movement has been an effective interest group lobbying governments to enact policies that enhance public goods (the environment) at the expense of tightly organized for profit interests. Collectively, environmentalists have been able to overcome free-rider problems to achieve their goals. But, in day to day life do environmentalists "free ride"? Do they live a "green" lifestyle? This paper uses several California data sets to test for differences in consumption patterns between greens and browns. I document that a community's share of Green Party registered voters is a viable proxy for community environmentalism. Environmentalists are more likely to commute by public transit, purchase hybrid vehicles, and consume less gasoline than non-environmentalists. These observed differentials have aggregate implications for explaining why some nations lie below the cross-national Environmental Kuznets Curve.

Keywords: environmentalism, Kuznets Curve, consumption

JEL Classification: Q4, Q2

Suggested Citation

Kahn, Matthew E., Do Greens Drive Hummers or Hybrids? Environmental Ideology as a Determinant of Consumer Choice and the Aggregate Ecological Footprint (October 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=940033 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.940033

Matthew E. Kahn (Contact Author)

University of Southern California ( email )

2250 Alcazar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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