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How Green Self Image is Related to Subjective Well-Being: Pro-Environmental Values as a Social Norm

Heinz Welsch and Jan Kühling ()

Ecological Economics, 2018, vol. 149, issue C, 105-119

Abstract: Recent literature has found that individuals holding a greener self-image display higher levels of life satisfaction. We extend the single-country setting of that research to a transnational perspective and explore whether a relationship exists between green self-image (GSI) and life satisfaction (LS), both European-wide and at the national level. In order to explain differences in the GSI-LS relationship across nations and time, we study the role of pro-environmental values as a shared social norm. We find a significantly positive GSI-LS relationship in a pool of 35 European countries and in the majority of individual countries. In addition, we show that the well-being benefit of holding a green self-image is greater in societies that display more unanimity with respect to pro-environmental attitudes. Invoking the notion of social norms as shared agreements about what is appropriate and inappropriate, we take the latter finding to indicate that part of the well-being benefit from holding pro-environmental values derives from conformity to a social norm.

Keywords: Green self-image; Subjective well-being; Life satisfaction; Social norm; Social division (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I31 Q50 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:149:y:2018:i:c:p:105-119