Pro-environmental programs should take the factors that motivate each gender into consideration

March 20, 2018

A group of researchers in the Department of Financial Economics II (Company Economics and Marketing) of the UPV/EHU's Faculty of Economics and Business has conducted a study that seeks to identify the factors driving the pro-environmental behaviour of university students; the aim is to be able to increase the effectiveness of university and Government interventions and policies in favour of the environment. "We thought it would be interesting to study the university community because they are the ones who will be leading the future apart from being a reference for other communities," said Azucena Vicente-Molina, the department's head and a co-author of the work.

The pro-environmental behaviour analysed includes daily activities (use of public transport for environmental reasons) and others traditionally related to the domestic sphere (pro-environmental purchasing and recycling). On the basis of a sample of 1,089 students drawn from all the UPV/EHU's centres on the Bizkaia campus (quota samplings), the gender effect was analysed through its influence on a range of variables that seem to determine pro-environmental behaviour. The variables analysed were pro-environmental attitude, motivation (altruist or selfish), the individual's perception regarding the effectiveness of his/her pro-environmental behaviour, and knowledge pertaining to environmental matters, differentiating between objective knowledge (what a person knows about the subject) and subjective knowledge (what a person thinks they know), and the type of course they are on (Sciences, Engineering and Social Sciences).

Educational programmes adapted to the motivations of each gender

The information was analysed bearing in mind firstly the sample as a whole, and secondly, when it was divided into two groups in terms of gender. The overall analysis revealed that "it is the altruist motivations and environmental knowledge believed to be held that are the factors exerting the greatest influence on the pro-environmental behaviour of the students as a whole," said the researcher. Having said that, she warns that "given the fact that the results indicate that the level of objective knowledge of the university community is lower than the level of subjective knowledge, they may well be making incorrect decisions with respect to environmental protection". She went on to add that "this risk is greater in the case of girls because they are more inclined towards developing pro-environmental behaviour, but especially because their actual level of knowledge on these matters is lower than that of the boys".

Yet the comparison of the results divided by gender suggests that the variables as a whole affecting pro-environmental behaviour vary in terms of gender, and that the level of intensity that each factor exerts on this behaviour is also different. "Motivation, subjective knowledge and perceived effectiveness affect both genders, but they have less weight in the boys than in the girls. Yet objective knowledge is a factor that determines the pro-environmental behaviour of the female group but not the male group and yet the factor that exerts the greatest influence on them, i.e. attitude, does not affect the girls," explains Azucena Vicente.

These results have practical implications for future education programmes and will allow the pro-environmental behaviour of the university community "as future decision-makers and references for other communities, which they are, to be better understood", she said. "Yet if such programmes are to be effective, they will need to stress the characteristics and factors that exert the most influence on the pro-environmental behaviour of each gender".
-end-
Additional information

This study was conducted by the lecturers at the UPV/EHU's Faculty of Economics and Business Azucena Vicente-Molina and Julen Izagirre-Olaizola in the Department of Financial Economics II (Company Economics and Marketing) and Ana Fernández Sainz of the Department of Applied Economics III (Econometrics and Statistics).

Bibliographical reference

M.A. Vicente-Molina, A. Fernández-Sainz, J. 2018. Izagirre-Olaizola. Does gender make a difference in pro-environmental behaviour? The case of the Basque Country University students. Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 176: 89-98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.12.079

University of the Basque Country

Related Economics Articles from Brightsurf:

A century of misunderstanding of a key tool in the economics of natural resources
In the past few weeks, oil prices have fallen to record lows.

What comes after COVID-19? Special issue in the journal Population and Economics
At this alarming time, when the COVID-19 pandemic is on everyone's mind, a new special issue in the open-access peer-reviewed journal Population and Economics provides a platform for discussion on the impact of the pandemic on the population and economics, both in Russia and worldwide.

Challenges for Russia's agriculture: new special issue in Russian Journal of Economics
While Russia seems to have tackled its historic problem: food shortage -- with the agri-food sector becoming one of the most steadily developing of the national economy in the last decade -- there is a new set of challenges.

Brief entrance test can predict academic success within first year of study in economics
German researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and Humboldt-Universit├Ąt zu Berlin found that even a short test can reliably predict students' success within their first year of study in economics -- much better than an intelligence test or predictions based on school grades.

The case for economics -- by the numbers
In recent years, criticism has been levelled at economics for being insular and unconcerned about real-world problems.

Scientists develop open-source software to analyze economics of biofuels, bioproducts
Perennial grasses can be converted into everything from ethanol to bioplastics, but it's unclear which bioproducts hold the greatest potential.

Life data economics: calling for new models to assess the value of human data
After the collapse of the blockchain bubble a number of research organisations are developing platforms to enable individual ownership of life data and establish the data valuation and pricing models.

SCAI and ACVP release consensus statement on cardiovascular catheterization laboratory economics
A newly released expert consensus statement provides recommendations for optimizing the financial operations of the cardiovascular catheterization laboratory (CCL) while providing cutting-edge patient care.

Shocking economics
Understanding economies in times of crises? Modern macroeconomics failed so far.

When does one of the central ideas in economics work?
Many situations in economics are complicated and competitive; this research raises the question of whether many theories in economics may suffer from the very fundamental problem that the key behavioral assumption of equilibrium is wrong.

Read More: Economics News and Economics Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.