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Environmental Economics and Policy Studies

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 761–788 | Cite as

Job versus environment: an examination on the attitude of union members toward environmental spending

  • Meng-jieu ChenEmail author
Research Article

Abstract

There seems to be a widespread perception in the United States that labor union members are indifferent or even hostile to environmental protection efforts. Previous work on the nature of the relationship between labor unions and environmentalists, mostly drawn from case studies and interviews with union leaders, has not reached consistent conclusions. To provide a realistic examination of the relationship, we apply an empirical analysis to investigate attitudes of individual union members toward the stringency of environmental policies. Using the General Social Survey, we examine grass-root union members’ preferences for public environmental spending options. Contrary to prevailing perceptions of conflict, we find a positive association between union membership and the choosing to increase environmental spending. Further, investigating the environmental attitude of union members in heavily regulated industries, we do not find evidence to support the argument that these laborers tend to be unfavorable toward environment. Our results also suggest that the level of regulation an industry is facing does not appear to have a statistically significant effect on respondent’s choice of environmental spending.

Keywords

Union Environmental spending preference Highly polluting industries 

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Copyright information

© Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies and Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, Institute for the Study of International Aspects of CompetitionUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA

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