Who Should “Do More” About Climate Change? Cultural Theory, Polycentricity, and Public Support for Climate Change Actions Across Actors and Governments

Published version


Under a polycentric approach to climate change, action is taken at different scales and across all levels of government and sectors of society. Some scholars have argued that such an approach is the best lens to view the governance of climate change and that a polycentric approach has advantages in addressing collective-action problems. However, taking a polycentric approach would require public support for action at multiple scales. The issue of climate change is polarized across political beliefs and cultural worldviews and little research has examined how the public views climate action at one level of government relative to others as well as relative to actions by the private sector and by individuals. Using an original survey of the US public from October 2017, I explore who it is that the public thinks should “do more” about climate change and the role that the cultural worldviews posited by cultural theory—hierarchical, egalitarian, individualist, and fatalist—plays in shaping those opinions. Overall, I find support for multiple actors doing more to address climate change, but with differences in support between egalitarians and individualists for actors overall and for the federal government in particular.


OLS analysis of who should ‘do more’ about climate change by cultural type

BibTeX citation

  title = {Who {{Should}} ``{{Do More}}'' {{About Climate Change}}? {{Cultural Theory}}, {{Polycentricity}}, and {{Public Support}} for {{Climate Change Actions Across Actors}} and {{Governments}}},
  shorttitle = {Who {{Should}} ``{{Do More}}'' {{About Climate Change}}?},
  author = {Nowlin, Matthew C.},
  year = {2022},
  journal = {Review of Policy Research},
  volume = {39},
  number = {4},
  pages = {468--485},
  issn = {1541-1338},
  doi = {10.1111/ropr.12468}