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Socioeconomic status, time preferences and pro-environmentalism

Abstract : Future-oriented individuals tend to display more pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours, compared to those who are present-oriented. Investigating the determinants of time preferences could therefore shed light on factors that also influence environmentalism. A key factor that impacts time preferences is socioeconomic status (SES). Importantly, SES is also positively correlated with willingness to act for the environment. In this paper, we test whether time preferences partially mediate the relationship between SES and pro-environmentalism in three studies. In the first study, we tested the assumption that pro-environmental attitudes are positively correlated with SES on a large cross-sectional French sample (N = 15,924). We found expected results both with an objective and a subjective measure of SES. Then, we conducted an online study including a temporal discounting task, which allowed us to fully test the mediation hypothesis on British participants (N = 650). Our results suggest that the positive association between SES and pro-environmental attitudes is partially mediated by temporal discounting, but no significant mediated relationship was found for pro-environmental behaviour. Finally, we conducted a third study with an experimental setting, for which we recruited British participants who underestimated their position in the income distribution (N = 855). In the treatment group, participants received a correction of their misperception, in order to increase their perceived relative income. Although the expected shift towards increased preferences for the future was not observed, we found a moderated effect of the treatment on pro-environmentalism.
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https://hal-ens.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03628030
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Soumis le : vendredi 1 avril 2022 - 16:37:38
Dernière modification le : mardi 5 avril 2022 - 10:23:30
Archivage à long terme le : : samedi 2 juillet 2022 - 19:13:49

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Aurore Grandin, Léonard Guillou, Rita Abdel Sater, Martial Foucault, Coralie Chevallier. Socioeconomic status, time preferences and pro-environmentalism. Journal of Environmental Psychology, Elsevier, 2022, 79, pp.101720. ⟨10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101720⟩. ⟨hal-03628030⟩

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