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Scientific paper

Ecological ceiling and social floor: public support for eco-social policies in Sweden

Max Koch, Martin Fritz, HÃ¥kan Johansson, Jamil Khan, Roger Hildingsson, Kajsa Emilsson

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Scientific paper

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Sustainability Science


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In this article, we investigate public support for eco-social policies combining goals of social justice and ecological sustainability. Eco-social policies contribute both to providing a social floor or redistributing resources to where they are needed and to respecting an ecological ceiling by keeping human activities within ecological limits. We discuss five such policies and highlight arguments for and against defining them as eco-social policies: a maximum income, a wealth tax, a basic income, a working time reduction and a meat tax. Asking what the social and individual determinants of supporting these policies are, we use 2020 data from a representative survey in Sweden containing information about how respondents evaluate the policies. We run regression analyses to estimate the effects on these evaluations and test for socio-economic, knowledge-based and value-based factors. Results show that (1) in Sweden a working time reduction is the most supported eco-social policy; (2) political left orientation increases support for all five eco-social policies; (3) socio-economic factors have effects on wealth tax, maximum income and working time reduction; and (4) knowledge-based factors are more associated with the meat tax. Thus, socio-economic and knowledge-based models have the most significance for policies that could be understood as being either social or environmental, while value-based models have significance across potentially perceived policy divides and hence to a greater extent explain support for policies targeting an ecological ceiling and a social floor.

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