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The Effects of Regional Characteristics and Policies on Individual Pro-Environmental Behavior in China

Zhe Hong () and In Kwon Park ()
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Zhe Hong: Department of Urban Administration, University of Seoul, 163 Seoulsiripdaero, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 02504, Korea
In Kwon Park: Department of Urban Administration, University of Seoul, 163 Seoulsiripdaero, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 02504, Korea

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 10, 1-17

Abstract: As the Chinese economy grows, Chinese people’s environmental behavior enormously affects the environment of neighboring countries as well as China. Many studies have related environmental behavior to personal characteristics such as environmental knowledge and attitude or to national policies such as environmental taxes and regulations. Few studies have looked at how regional factors affect residents’ environmental behaviors, particularly for China. This is a substantive gap in the literature regarding the effects of regional governments on resident behavior at a closer distance via different mechanisms than the national government. This paper examines determinants of individual pro-environmental behavior (PEB) in terms of regional attributes as well as personal characteristics in China. For this purpose, we applied a multi-level regression model that regresses the degree of PEB on both individual and regional level factors, using Chinese General Social Survey data and the China Environment Yearbook data for the year 2010. The analysis shows that environmental attitude, willingness to pay for the environment, objective and subjective environmental knowledge, and environmental risk perception all promote PEB at the individual level. These results are in line with the existing literature on environmental behavior. In addition, at the regional level, environmental budgets, administrative enforcement, and economic development have positive impacts on resident PEB, while environmental pollution has a negative effect. Specifically, the levels of regional economic development and administrative enforcement not only directly affect behavior, but also indirectly affect behavior by controlling the influence of individual level variables. This means that the relationships between individual level variables and environmental behavior can be changed by regional contextual factors. These results suggest that regional government efforts for the environment can effectively promote PEB.

Keywords: pro-environmental behavior; regional factors; cross-level interactions; multi-level analysis; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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