Support for the environment post-transition? Material concerns and policy tradeoffs

Temirlan T. Moldogaziev, Rachel M. Krause, Gwen Arnold, Le Ahn Nguyen Long, Tatyana Ruseva, Chris Silvia, Christopher Witko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Though many individuals are aware of the need to address environmental concerns, fewer are willing to pay for climate action or think the environment should be a priority for government spending. One compelling reason is that they prioritize using scarce resources to address immediate material concerns. This is particularly likely for individuals facing absolute material scarcity or for those who think they are relatively economically worse off, especially in contexts characterized by rapid transformation and volatility in the levels and quality of social welfare provision. To test these expectations, we analyze survey data from formerly Communist economies, which today find themselves with vastly different fortunes. Empirical findings suggest that absolute and relative material scarcity affect opinions regarding government spending on, and the willingness to pay more for, environmental action. However, willingness to pay more for government public services, inclusive of anti-poverty initiatives, has an impact on willingness to pay more for climate action, but in counter-intuitive ways. Overall, the results appear to suggest that explicitly addressing and relating individual living standards and inequality with environmental concerns may expand support for climate action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-206
Number of pages21
JournalReview of Policy Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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