Chapter 8: Environmental behavior: measurement approaches and determining factors
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Including relevant psychological and economic research, the chapter reviews sociological research on citizens' environmental behavior. In a first step, problems of conceptualization and measurement of environmental behavior are discussed. We differentiate an intent-oriented and an impact-oriented measurement approach and argue in favor of the impact-oriented approach. Following this approach, it is relatively easy to sketch - for the group of OECD countries - the main developments over time in the three core areas of mobility, housing, and nutrition. In a second step, the chapter deals with three groups of factors influencing environmental behavior: individual characteristics (gender, income, political orientation), cognitive and affective factors of the persons involved, and structural context factors. Ample research demonstrates that the last-mentioned group is most important, i.e., significant changes in environmental behavior mainly depend on changes in economic, institutional, and structural context factors. These context factors range from soft incentives to ecological taxes, and up to direct governmental prescriptions regarding individual and corporative behavior.

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