Does higher education affect pro-environmental behavior? Evidence from household waste recycling in Greece

Yiannis Kountouris*, Kyriaki Remoundou

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

We examine the effect of higher education attainment on pro-environmental behavior focusing on household waste recycling. To address the endogeneity of higher education attainment, we exploit a set of reforms that increased opportunities for university studies in Greece, affecting cohorts graduating from high school in year 2000. We leverage the exogenous variation introduced by the school enrollment age cutoff and estimate the local average treatment effect of higher education employing a fuzzy regression discontinuity design, comparing educational attainment and recycling behavior between households that were just, and just not exposed to the reforms. We find little evidence that higher education increases the probability of recycling, and no evidence that the share of household waste recycled responds to higher educational attainment. Our results suggest that human capital accumulation alone may not deliver green behavior returns.

Original languageEnglish
Article number084017
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume18
Issue number8
Early online date28 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2023

Keywords

  • pro-environmental returns of education
  • higher education
  • sustainable consumption
  • recycling

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