Opinion Clusters in Academic and Public Debates on Growth-vs-Environment

Stefan Drews, Ivan Savin, Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The debate about the relationship between economic growth and environmental sustainability involves many dimensions as well as much diversity in terminology. While it is often summarized in terms of dichotomous pro- and anti-growth positions, several studies indicate that additional views exist, and that these may differ between experts and the general public. The objective of this paper is to identify and analyze segments of the scientific and general population with distinct views in this respect. To this end, we bring together two data sets: one from a nationally representative survey of the general public of Spain (N = 1004) and another from an international survey of researchers from various disciplinary backgrounds (N = 814). Using latent class analysis, we identify three similar segments in the two samples, labeled as Green growth, Agrowth and Degrowth. Overall, clusters are more consistent, better distinguishable on all constituent dimensions and more polarized in the scientific than public opinion survey. In addition, we find that diverging views on social issues are more strongly associated with distinct clusters in the public opinion sample, and on environmental issues in the scientific opinion sample.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-155
Number of pages15
JournalEcological Economics
Volume157
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

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terminology
environmental issue
economic growth
sustainability
opinion
public
public opinion
Public opinion
analysis
opinion survey
Degrowth
Environmental issues
Social issues
Latent class analysis
Environmental sustainability
General population
Spain
Economic growth

Keywords

  • Clustering
  • Growth-vs-environment debate
  • Public opinion
  • Scientific opinion
  • Segmentation

Cite this

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Opinion Clusters in Academic and Public Debates on Growth-vs-Environment. / Drews, Stefan; Savin, Ivan; van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M.

In: Ecological Economics, Vol. 157, 03.2019, p. 141-155.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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