Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

Impact of Gender and Political Ideology on Chinese and U.S. College Student's Responses to Climate Change Advocacy Advertisements

Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

Impact of Gender and Political Ideology on Chinese and U.S. College Student's Responses to Climate Change Advocacy Advertisements

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

As the name correctly implies, global warming is a significant issue affecting the entire world. The world's scientific community has largely reached a consensus that (1) global warming is occurring and (2) that human behavior is largely responsible. The most recent evidence is seen in an August 20, 2013, New York Times report of a leaked draft of an upcoming UN Report on climate change (Gillis, 2013). That report, prepared by an international panel of scientists unequivocally indicates that human activity caused more than half of observed increase in the average of global surface temperature in the last half of the 20th century.

While the international scientific community is largely united on the presence and causes of climate change, the political debate is far from resolved. Some political leaders deny the existence of global warming and any human culpability, claiming that we are just in a "weather cycle." With political leaders questioning both the existence and cause of climate change, it is not surprising that there are differing positions by the public on the issue as well.

Although scholars have examined a number of individual factors related to U. S. environmental attitudes, perhaps the two most reliable indicators are gender and political ideology. Since the U.S and China are the world's two largest economies, arguably, they are the two largest contributors to the problem. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the impact of gender and political ideology on U.S and Chinese college student's responses to advertisements which advocate actions to reduce climate change.

The study employed a total sample of 318 college students, 162 from China and 156 from the U.S. The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in Chinese and U.S. college student responses to ads which advocated action on climate change based on their gender and political ideology. The results indicate that in the U.S, liberals are both more likely to agree with the existence of climate change and indicate a personal intention to do something about it than are conservatives. However, in contrast to previous research, in the U.S. this study failed to find a sex difference in environmental attitudes. In China, the results indicate that males are more likely to agree with the existence of climate change and indicate a personal intention to do something about it than are females. Ideological differences along the liberal-conservative dimension were not evident in the Chinese sample. These findings have important potential implications in the area of "green" marketing and "green" advertising.

INTRODUCTION

As the name correctly implies, global warming, or now the more commonly used term, climate change, is a significant issue affecting the entire world. The world's scientific community has largely reached a consensus that (1) global warming is occurring and (2) that human behavior is largely responsible. The most recent evidence is seen in an August 20, 2013, New York Times report of a leaked draft of an upcoming UN Report on climate change (Gillis, 2013). The report, prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international panel of scientists who along with A1 Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, unequivocally indicates that human activity caused more than half of observed increase in the average of global surface temperature in the last half of the 20th century.

While the international scientific community is largely united on the presence and causes of climate change, in the United States, the political debate is far from resolved. Some political leaders deny the existence of global warming and any human culpability, offering the contrarian argument that we are just in a "weather cycle." With political leaders questioning both the existence and cause of climate change, there should be no surprise that there are differing positions by the public on the issue as well (Zhao, Leiserowitz, Maibach and Roser-Renouf, 2011). …

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