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Title: Does Economy Matter for Public Support for Environmental Protection? Evidence from India
Authors: Turaga, Rama Mohana R.
Keywords: Economic growth;Environmental protection
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
Abstract: Previous research in advanced economies, especially in the U.S., shows that public concern and support for environmental protection at the expense of economic growth wanes during unfavourable macroeconomic conditions. Since the economic downturn that started in 2010-2011, India has seen a strong public discourse that suggests that excessive environmental regulations, by delaying and obstructing new investment projects, have been hampering economic growth. In this paper, assuming that such a public discourse influences public opinion, we hypothesize that public support for environmental protection reduces during the economic downturn, relative to the period when the economy is on a growth trajectory. Controlling for other individual characteristics, we test this hypothesis, using pooled data from two waves (2006, representing period of economic boom and 2014, representing economic downturn) of World Values Survey. Our results support our hypothesis: there is a shift in terms of greater support for economic growth over environmental protection between 2006 and 2014. We also find that pro-environmental value orientations have a strong influence on public support for environmental protection. We discuss the implications of our results to environmental policy in India.
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