The Politics of Environmental Concern: A Cross-National Analysis

Raphael J. Nawrotzki

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91 Scopus citations


Prior research in the United States has found that liberals are generally more environmentally concerned than conservatives. The present study explores whether conservatives' opposition to environmental protection is solely a U.S. or a universal phenomenon and whether this association is contingent on country-level characteristics, such as development, environmental conditions, and communist history. Employing data for 19 countries from the International Social Survey Program module "Environment II," this article explores inter-country variations in the relationship between individual conservatism and environmental concern using multilevel modeling with cross-level interactions. The models reveal a number of intriguing associations. Most important, conservatives' support for environmental protection varies by country. This variation is a function of country-level characteristics. The strongest opposition of conservatives' toward environmental protection was observed in developed, capitalist nations, with superior environmental conditions. On the other hand, in less developed countries, and countries characterized by poor environmental quality, conservatives are more environmentally concerned than liberals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-307
Number of pages22
JournalOrganization and Environment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • ISSP 2000
  • conservatism
  • environmental concern
  • environmentalism
  • multilevel model
  • political ideology


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