The causal effect of education on climate literacy and pro-environmental behaviours: evidence from a nationwide natural experiment

Publication type

Research Paper

Author

Nattavudh Powdthavee

Publication date

Series Number

13210

Summary

There is a widespread belief that a lack of education is the primary cause of public apathy to climate change. Yet, despite the global campaign to promote education as a tool to combat global warming, empirical evidence on the causal effect of education on climate literacy and pro-environmental behaviours remains worryingly scarce. Using the raising of the minimum school leaving age law in England from 15 to 16 years of age in September 1972 as a natural experiment, I showed that remaining in school as a result of the reform causally increased the level of comprehension about the causes of climate change. However, I found little causal evidence that more education also improved the pro-environmental behaviours of those who were affected by the reform. This raises an important question of whether policies aimed at improving climate change awareness through education can effectively produce long-lasting changes in pro-environmental behaviours.

ISSN

16

Subjects

Environmental Sociology, Psychology, Education, Economics and Public Policy

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