Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Interdisciplinary Program


Mario Teisl

Second Committee Member

Shannon McCoy

Third Committee Member

Laura Lindenfeld


How does acceptance of an environmental policy differ from support for an environmental policy? In addition, how do perceptions of a policy and economic views of the market affect acceptance of and support for environmental policies? Under the umbrella of sustainability science, I draw my understanding of policy support and acceptance from psychology, economics, and environmental studies. I employ a mix of quantitative and theoretical approaches in three related projects focused on environmental policies. As a whole, this dissertation co-produces knowledge via collaboration, and links that knowledge-to-action through discussions of research implications.

Throughout the dissertation, I outline and describe a two-dimensional differentiation of policy support and policy acceptance. Beginning in the Introduction, I highlight the problem of the interchangeable use of the terms acceptance and support. Chapter 2 explores differences between acceptance and support of the Australian carbon policy shortly after it was instituted in July 2012 and argues that policy acceptance and support are related, but distinct concepts. Chapter 2 outlines how environmental policy acceptance and support differ on two dimensions, an attitudinal-behavioral dimension and temporal dimension. Chapter 3 expands on this outline with a conceptual model of the two-dimensional differentiation, further adding empirical evidence from an investigation of the fuel economy standards in the United States through a Maine sample in November 2013. Chapter 4 provides additional refined empirical evidence from the Australian carbon policy before and after the Australian federal elections of 2013, while Chapter 5 summarizes and concludes.

Each of the chapters also explores the determinants of policy acceptance and policy support, and the relationship amongst variables through two separate policy examples, the Australian carbon policy and the fuel economy standards in the United States. I argue that perceived fairness and perceived effectiveness of the policy, and a subscription to a free-market ideology, all play an important role in acceptance and support, although the role may differ depending upon the policy, or current timing. I find that fairness and effectiveness are positively and significantly related to both acceptance and support, whereas a free-market ideology is negatively and significantly related to acceptance and support.


Interdisciplinary in Environmental Psychology and Behavioral Economics.