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The Effects of Economic Appeals on Support For Climate Mitigation Policies

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abstract
Climate change is an existential risk par excellence that threatens the well-being of many forms of life on this planet, both in the status quo and if allowed to continue unabated. Because state-led policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions require the consent of the governed, it is essential that communicators craft persuasive messages that are effective in swaying public opinion towards supporting such laws. This thesis builds on existing literature to refine and reconceptualize types of economic discourse on environmental issues. It uses social-scientific methods common in communication to test the efficacy of appeals that center climate change’s effect on the economy to see if such appeals successfully motivate support for climate mitigation policies. Preliminary results indicate that economic appeals did not significantly outperform the control treatment, whether in terms of generating support for market-based (i.e. carbon pricing) or command-and-control (i.e. nationalization) mitigation policies. This may be because, in line with many previous findings in related fields such as environmental psychology, attempting to re-enforce self-interested reasoning does not tend to promote pro-social attitudes and behaviors. If climate communicators wish to break through to new audiences, economic appeals may not be the answer.
subject
attitude formation
climate change communication
economic appeals
environmental psychology
persuasion
public opinion
contributor
Jackson, Christopher (author)
Von Burg, Ronald (committee chair)
Lachapelle, Erick (committee member)
Kirby-Straker, Rowena (committee member)
date
2020-05-29T08:36:17Z (accessioned)
2020-05-29T08:36:17Z (available)
2020 (issued)
degree
Communication (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/96872 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
The Effects of Economic Appeals on Support For Climate Mitigation Policies
type
Thesis

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