Leonie Rettig, Lea Gärtner, Harald Schoen
Facing trade-offs: The variability of public support for climate change policies

Environmental Science & Policy, 2023: 147, pp. 244-254
ISSN: 1462-9011

Policy support is often measured by asking respondents to evaluate policies linked to an isolated policy goal. However, in real-world settings, policies usually have multiple implications. We study how people react when policies have negative implications for other valued goals, considering both their level of support and the certainty of their choices. Using survey experiment data collected in Germany in 2020 (N = 2233) that measures people’s support for climate policies with or without information about negative implications for different societal groups, we find that people decrease their policy support and become less certain about their choices when faced with negative implications for vulnerable groups. This effect is partially moderated by people’s climate change concern and their support for government assistance for such groups. We thus contribute to the understanding of people’s policy decision-making, with implications for the measurement of public support and the development of effective climate policies.