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Education and pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours: A nonparametric regression discontinuity analysis of a major schooling reform in England and Wales

Nattavudh Powdthavee ()

Ecological Economics, 2021, vol. 181, issue C

Abstract: There is a widespread belief that a lack of education contributes to public apathy to climate change. Yet, despite the global campaign to promote education as a tool to combat global warming, empirical evidence on the causal effect of education on climate literacy and pro-environmental behaviours remains scarce. Using the raising of the minimum school leaving age law in England from 15 to 16 years of age in September 1972 as a natural experiment, we show that remaining in school as a result of the reform causally reduces people's unwillingness to change their behaviours for the environment and their perception that climate change is too far in the future to worry. However, we find little evidence that more education improves the pro-environmental behaviours of those who were affected by the reform. This raises an important question of whether policies aimed at improving climate change awareness through education can effectively produce long-lasting changes in pro-environmental behaviours.

Keywords: Climate Change; Education; Pro-Environmental Behaviours; Regression Discontinuity; UK (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2020.106931

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