Going Green? Urban vs. Rural Residency and Pro-Environmental Attitudes in China
With the fastest growing economy in the world, China questions the viability of their economically oriented country under increasing international pressures to strengthen environmental regulations. Understanding public policy support for environmental and economic policies requires factoring place attachment with public opinion. This research theorizes that rural residents, because of their weaker local economy, dependence on extracting natural resources, and distance from heavy pollution, will favor economic development at the expense of environmental protection. Conversely, urban residents who benefit from a stronger economy, desire more trees and parks, and have direct contact with heavy pollution and smog, will prefer an increase in environmental regulation. This study investigates the World Values Surveys (WVS), The China Survey, and other social value surveys conducted in China from 1995 to 2008, and tests urban and rural residents’ opinions toward the environment versus the economy. For the 2000 WVS a better measurement for urban and rural residency was created using hukou (household registration), size of town, and 2000 national census data. In support of the iv hypothesis, 2008 results show city dwellers promoting environmentalism with an equalbut- opposite rural population promoting economic development. Examining trends from 1995 to 2008 reveal two observations: first, that environmentalism is promoted consistently in all samples for urbanites; second, that trends suggest a future overtake of preference for economic development among urban and rural respondents. Such movements in attitudes could affect the direction and future of the Chinese Communist Party’s economic and environmental policy reform.
The World Values Survey
The China Survey
Chiu, Samantha (2009). Going Green? Urban vs. Rural Residency and Pro-Environmental Attitudes in China. Available electronically from