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Do pro-social students care more for the environment?

Haimanti Bhattacharya (Department of Economics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 19 July 2019

Issue publication date: 19 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to use pro-social and pro-environment attitudes as indicators of social and environmental sustainability to empirically examine the relationship between the two pillars of sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach

Self-reported survey responses of undergraduate students of the University of Utah are used for conducting a two-stage quantile regression analysis wherein social support serves as an instrument for identifying pro-social attitude for estimating the relationship between pro-social and pro-environment attitudes.

Findings

The estimates show that students who receive more social support tend to be more pro-social, and more pro-social students are more pro-environment.

Research limitations/implications

University students may not necessarily be representative of the broader human society. Studies need to examine this question for different segments of the society.

Originality/value

These results reiterate that universities can enhance sustainability education by adopting a more holistic approach wherein social and environmental sustainability are co-integrated. Additionally, by strengthening their role as a vital source of social support for students, universities can further enhance the synergistic relationship between pro-social and pro-environment attitudes of university students.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author is grateful to the students of her statistics class for collecting the data.

Citation

Bhattacharya, H. (2019), "Do pro-social students care more for the environment?", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 761-783. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-11-2018-0223

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited