Environmental Reform in Cross-National Perspective
This dissertation comprises three published journal articles with an introductory chapter. Each study presented here examines, from a quantitative cross-national perspective, a dimension of environmental reform. The first study examines sustainability conceptualized as the environmental efficiency of well-being (EWEB). A new measure of EWEB was constructed using the ecological footprint per capita (a measure of environmental consumption) and average life satisfaction (a measure of subjective well-being). Hypotheses regarding cross-national variation in EWEB were drawn from political economy, modernization, and sustainable consumption theories in the environmental social sciences. The effects of climate, political, economic, and social factors on EWEB were tested with a sample of 105 countries. Key findings include a negative quadratic effect of economic development on EWEB, a negative effect of income inequality, and a positive effect of social capital.The second study assesses the effects of national affluence, environmental degradation, and world society integration on various dimensions of environmental concern were tested. Bivariate correlations were calculated with data from the latest (fifth) wave of the World Values Survey (WVS) and a multivariate panel regression model was calculated using data from four WVS waves (1990-2008). Bivariate correlations reveal inconsistent relationships across various dimensions of environmental concern. The panel analysis suggests that environmental degradation is positively associated with environmental concern expressed as willingness to pay higher taxes, affluence is either negatively or not associated, and international non-governmental organizations are not significantly associated. The third study is an investigation of organic agriculture. Cross-national data indicate that greater area of organic agriculture land is associated with lower fertilizer consumption while larger average organic farm size is associated with higher fertilizer consumption. Data on organic land area and average farm size were used to test hypotheses derived from three theoretical perspectives: neoliberal modernization theories, international political economy theories, and world polity theory. Agricultural export intensity was found to be positively associated with organic agriculture land area, while both economic development and agricultural export intensity had significant, positive effects on average organic farm size. World polity theory was supported with a positive association between number of environmental international non-governmental organizations and organic land.