Citizens show strong support for climate policy, but are they also willing to pay?
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To what extent citizens are willing not only to support ambitious climate policy but also willing to pay for such policy remains subject to debate. Our analysis addresses three issues in this regard: whether, as is widely assumed but not empirically established, willingness to support (WTS) is higher than willingness to pay (WTP); whether the determinants of the two are similar; and what accounts for within-subject similarity between WTS and WTP. We address these issues based on data from an original nationally representative survey (N = 2500) on forest conservation in Brazil, arguably the key climate policy issue in the country. The findings reveal that WTP is much lower than WTS. The determinants differ to some extent as well, regarding the effects of age, gender, and trust in government. The analysis also provides insights into factors influencing how much WTS and WTP line up within individuals, with respect to age, education, political ideology, salience of the deforestation issue, and trust in government. Our findings provide a more nuanced picture of how strong public support for climate change policy is and a starting point for more targeted climate policy communication.
The research for this article was funded by the ERC Advanced Grant “Sources of Legitimacy in Global Environmental Governance” (Grant: 295456) and supported by ETH Zurich.
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