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Amanda Clayton: Facing Change: Gender and Climate Change Attitudes Worldwide

220 Eggers Hall

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Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

Comparative Politics/International Relations


Amanda Clayton

Assistant Professor
Vanderbilt University

Gender differences in concern about climate change are highly correlated with economic development: when countries are wealthier, a gap emerges whereby women are more likely than men to express concern about our changing climate. These differences stem from cross-national variation in men’s attitudes. Men, more than women, tend to be less concerned about climate change when countries are wealthier. We develop a new theory about the perceived costs and benefits of climate mitigation policy to explain the pattern. At the country level, the perceived benefits of mitigation tend to decrease with economic development, while the perceived costs increase. At the individual level, the perceived costs of mitigation tend to increase with economic development for men more than for women. Evidence from existing surveys in multiple world regions, an original ten-country survey in the Americas and Europe, and focus groups in Peru and the United States support our theory. Our findings bridge scholarship on gender, masculinity, and foreign economic policy preferences to uncover new correlates of public attitudes towards climate change.

Amanda Clayton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. She studies representation, with a focus on gender and politics and a regional concentration in southern Africa. She also has an active interest in gender and climate change. Her work has appeared in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, and International Organization among other outlets. She has consulted for the World Bank, USAID, and the OECD. Dr. Clayton is a founding member of the Empirical Study of Gender (EGEN) Research Group and an active member of EGAP.

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