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Linking Subjective Wellbeing and Pro-environmental Behaviour: A Multidimensional Approach

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Part of the Community Quality-of-Life and Well-Being book series (CQLWB)

Abstract

In recent years, policy-makers have taken steps towards acknowledging the importance of mental states when appraising citizens’ wellbeing on the one side and the urgent challenge of shifting towards a more ecological society on the other. Previous work has established an encouraging positive link between these two seemingly unrelated notions, subjective wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour. This chapter offers an overview of the progress made to date and underlines that both subjective wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour can be structured according to different dimensions that interact in various ways. In this chapter, we empirically investigate some dimensions of both subjective wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviour that have been overlooked so far. To do so, we use newly available data collected by the French National Statistical Institute and study seven dimensions of subjective wellbeing as well as attributions of political responsibility and prioritisation about green policies. In doing so, we move beyond the often unidimensional paradigm which associates subjective wellbeing with life satisfaction and pro-environmental behaviour with consumption. Our multidimensional approach offers new insights into which dimension of subjective wellbeing is most predictive of which pro-environmental behaviour and how happy and unhappy citizens have different attitudes about environmental policies.

Keywords

  • Subjective wellbeing
  • Pro-environmental behaviour
  • Survey
  • Affect
  • Eudaimonia
  • Policy preferences

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Fig. 11.1
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Notes

  1. 1.

    It should be noted that, in this line of argument, we adopt the perspective of policy targeted at an average person living in a developed country. There can be substantial returns to subjective wellbeing from private, tangible consumption in less developed countries, or for population groups at the lower end of the income distribution in developed countries, for whom basic needs are not or just met. The relationship between subjective wellbeing and private consumption, or economic growth more generally, is hence context-dependent. Importantly, a focus on subjective wellbeing in policy-making does not run counter to the notion of economic growth; it merely reshuffles policy priorities depending on development levels. For a complete treatise of subjective wellbeing in policy-making, see Frijters & Krekel (2021).

  2. 2.

    Data are publicly available upon request to the French Data Archive for Social Science. The files we used for our analysis are: lil-1309, lil-1373 lil-1176, and lil-1253.

  3. 3.

    Because of space constraints, estimates associated with gender and education level are not displayed in the table.

  4. 4.

    Official estimates by the French governments are published here: https://www.ecologie.gouv.fr/pollution-lair-origines-situation-et-impacts.

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Correspondence to Alberto Prati .

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Appendix

Appendix

See Appendix Tables 11.9 and 11.10.

Table 11.9 Wellbeing indicators
Table 11.10 Pro-environmental behaviours

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Krekel, C., Prati, A. (2022). Linking Subjective Wellbeing and Pro-environmental Behaviour: A Multidimensional Approach. In: Cloutier, S., El-Sayed, S., Ross, A., Weaver, M. (eds) Linking Sustainability and Happiness. Community Quality-of-Life and Well-Being. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-89559-4_11

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