Explaining the Ambiguous Relations Between Income, Environmental Knowledge, and Environmentally Significant Behavior

Siegmar Otto, ALEXANDER NEAMAN , Bárbara Richards, Andrés Marió

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effects of income on environmentally significant behavior (i.e., behavior that does have an effect on the environment, such as traveling and waste disposal) have been strong but equivocal. The relation between knowledge and environmentally significant behavior has attracted even greater interest, but relations have been weak and explanations diverse. These findings have been based on samples in industrialized countries with relatively narrow income distributions, and this may have attenuated a clear understanding of the relations between income, environmental knowledge, and environmentally significant behavior. Using a Chilean sample (N = 1785) with a relatively wide income distribution, we found a parsimonious explanation for the ambiguous results of previous studies. Income had a much stronger and differential effect on environmentally significant behaviors, suggesting that when income affects the situation that influences behavior, it trumps knowledge or attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-632
Number of pages5
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 May 2016

Keywords

  • Environmental impact
  • environmental knowledge
  • environmentally significant behavior
  • income
  • proenvironmental behavior
  • recycling
  • socioeconomic status
  • travel mode choice

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