Attitudes toward environmental issues in East Europe

Aie Rie Lee, James A. Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Studies show that, in the West, public attitudes toward the environment significantly impact upon political attitudes and behavior. The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which the social bases of environmental concern are consistent cross-nationally in East Europe. Also examined is how political behavior is correlated with environmental concern. This research, using the World Values Survey (1990-93) from five East European countries, uncovers that the basic structure of environmental concern in the East is similar to that in the West, but social background plays a less important role. Contrary to the findings of Western studies, concern for the environment has only a weak to modest impact on protest potential in Europe; for the East, other issues such as the national economy and unemployment may be more significant politically. The study highlights a few significant differences between East and West, especially an unexpected inverse relationship between political cynicism and environmentalism. However, the social bases of environmental concern and protest potential are similar, if less distinct: youth, higher levels of education, an interest in politics, and postmaterialist values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-397
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


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