Tackling the Double Injustice: How Citizens Evaluate Climate and Welfare Policies

Max Koch & Martin Fritz

Published: March 2020

Ambitious climate policies have distributional consequences. These require countervailing social policies to keep climate targets acceptable for the electorate. This article analyses data from the European Social Survey as to whether attitudes in relation to climate and welfare policies converge or diverge. It distinguishes four types of social-ecological attitudes: ‘Synergy’ or support for both kinds of policies; ‘Green crowding-out’ where support for climate policies is not accompanied by approval of welfare; ‘Red crowding-out’ where support for welfare coincides with a rejection of climate policies; Rejection of both types of policies. There are clear differences at country level. While synergy between both kinds of attitudes is most widespread in countries with an already established welfare state, the pattern of red crowding-out predominates in countries having an economy with high fossil-dependence. At individual level, persons expressing synergy for climate and welfare policies are well educated, young, with left-wing political beliefs and live in households with above-average incomes. Individuals who reject both kinds of policies are older, less educated, live in households with below-average incomes and politically orient to the right.

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