CARRY ON WITH CARRION? A wildlife road infrastructure study regarding the effects of ethical justification on policy acceptance

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Sammanfattning: Policy acceptance is an important aspect of compliance and government effectiveness. Political science and psychology researchers have attempted to understand policy acceptance through individual and contextual factors but still cannot explain all attitudinal differences. Acceptance of environmental policy is especially important because of the acuteness of environmental concerns and previous and/or potential resistance to unpopular environmental policies. Borrowing concepts from ethical philosophers, I examine if policy justification affects policy acceptance. According Norton (1991), the policy recommendation is expected to be the same whether aspects of nature are intrinsically valued or not, but it is better to use anthropocentric arguments for practical policy reasons. However, if public policy acceptance changes depending on how the policy is justified, then there may be good reason to abandon Norton’s argument to make policies that better reflect how humans value the environment. These theoretical ideas inspired testing a new policy acceptance indicator using data collected from an online survey experiment based on a wildlife infrastructure bill passed in Colorado USA. In line with prediction, this study found statistically significant effects of policy justification on policy acceptability and some differing effects for anthropocentric versus non-anthropocentric policy justifications (N=691). These findings contribute to policy acceptance literature, empirically tests philosophical ideas, and provides practical contributions to biodiversity and conservation policy. These findings warrant further research into ethical justifications and policy acceptance in the environmental field and other collective action policy.

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