The role of trust in citizen acceptance of climate policy: Comparing perceptions of government competence, integrity and value similarity

Date

2021

Authors

Kitt, Shelby
Axsen, Jonn
Long, Zoe
Rhodes, Ekaterina

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Ecological Economics

Abstract

This study examines the role of citizen trust in explaining climate policy support, using the case of low-carbon transportation policies in Canada – namely a carbon tax, electric vehicle purchase subsidies, and three regulations. Through a representative survey of 1,552 Canadian citizens collected in 2019, we assess: 1) support and opposition of policies, 2) trust in several key actors, and 3) other factors associated with policy support. The majority of respondents support purchase incentives and most regulations, whereas support is considerably lower for a carbon tax. Factor analysis identifies three different types of trust in key actors: competence, integrity, and value similarity. Fewer than 50% of respondents trust their national or provincial government regarding climate change issues in general or according to each type of trust. Regression analysis assesses the role of trust in policy support, while controlling for respondent values and demographic characteristics. Perceptions of national government “competence” is the only trust variable that is consistently positively associated with support for all five policies tested. Other forms of trust (integrity and value similarity) and trust in the provincial government are not consistently associated with policy support.

Description

Keywords

Climate policy, Survey, Public support, Citizen acceptance, Trust, Electric vehicles

Citation

Kitt, S., Axsen, J., Long, Z., & Rhodes, E. (2021). The role of trust in citizen acceptance of climate policy: Comparing perceptions of government competence, integrity and value similarity. Ecological Economics, 183, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.106958.