Cultural Influence on Preferences and Attitudes for Environmental Quality

Yiannis Kountouris, Kyriaki Remoundou

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We investigate national culture's influence on preferences for and attitudes to environmental quality. We use the cultural diversity of immigrants in European countries to isolate the effect of culture from the confounding effect of the economic and institutional environment. Results suggest that culture is a significant determinant of migrants' individual environmental preferences and attitudes. Migrants from countries with higher levels of environmental preferences are more willing to trade off income for environmental quality when controlling for individual characteristics, country of residence, and country of origin macroeconomic and environmental conditions. Furthermore, culture significantly influences individual beliefs about limits to growth, the fragility of the balance of nature, and the likelihood of an ecological crisis. The result is robust to alternative definitions of the cultural proxy and points to the significance of accounting for cultural influences in the design of domestic and international environmental policy and the application of environmental valuation techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-397
Number of pages29
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2016


  • culture
  • environmental quality
  • environmental attitudes
  • immigrants


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