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Are Economically “Kinder, Gentler Societies” also Greener?

Bernauer, Thomas and Böhmelt, Tobias (2013) 'Are Economically “Kinder, Gentler Societies” also Greener?' Environmental Science & Technology, 47 (21). pp. 11993-12001. ISSN 0013-936X

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Several studies examining implications of the modern welfare state arrive at rather positive conclusions: generally, they find that economically "kinder, gentler societies", that is, countries providing stronger state-sponsored social-safety nets for their people, perform better on various accounts, such as social and political stability, or economic performance. Recent research suggests that benign implications also exist for the environment in the sense that investing more in social policies may contribute to stronger environmental protection and higher environmental quality. We present theoretical arguments in favor, but also against this hypothesis, and evaluate it empirically with cross-sectional data for 68 countries. In contrast to previous studies, the results offer only weak and inconsistent support for the claim that social policies and environmental performance are systematically related. This means that governments of economically kinder, gentler societies would be ill advised to hope for positive "spillover effects" of social policies into the environmental realm. The findings also suggest, however, that more disaggregated analyses are necessary, since beneficial effects may exist in some environmental domains, but not in others. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Regression Analysis; Cross-Sectional Studies; Conservation of Natural Resources; Models, Theoretical; Research Design; Public Policy; Social Welfare
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2014 16:02
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2022 19:27

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