Perception and Behavior Concerning the Environment: A Multidimensional Measure of Environmental Perception Using Grade of Membership
Roberto Luiz do Carmo, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP)
Gilvan R. Guedes, Brown University
This study aims to evaluate and measure awareness and perception about environmental problems and intended and actual behaviors to address these problems. We use data from a survey conducted in two metropolitan areas of Brazil during 2007, applied to the Grade of Membership model. Results show that the ways in which individuals construct their perceptions are heterogeneous, mediated by their socioeconomic status and the physical characteristics of their households and neighborhoods. Echoing the evidences of the literature on socioeconomic influence on environmental behavior, our findings suggest a direct relationship between better socioeconomic conditions and greater willingness to address environmental problems. For some households, however, socioeconomic status and infrastructure are loosely connected to the willingness to confront problems. This deviance from the expected patterns challenge traditional analysis and methods applied to the study of environmental perception around the world.