October 17, 2008


Collective Action and Citizen Environmental Behavior


This paper expands the relevance of the collective interest model of mass political action to explain collective-action behavior in the context of global warming, climate change, and other environmental problems. The analysis is an attempt to answer Ostrom’s call for a behavioral model of collective action that can be generalized beyond political protest to other collective-action problems. We elaborate, specify, and empirically test a collective interest model approach to citizen policy support, environmental political participation, and environmental behavior related to environmental issues. Key elements of the collective interest model—perceived risk, personal efficacy, and environmental values—are found to be directly, and positively, related to support of government policies and personal behaviors that affect environmental problems. We also discuss the links between the collective interest model and other important approaches to political behavior.

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