Does religion promote pro-environmental behaviour? A cross-country investigation

Kahsay Haile Zemo*, Halefom Yigzaw Nigus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Religion is one of the most prominent social institutions in the world and is profoundly entangled with day to day activities of the majority of the population. However, the effect of religion on socio-economic and environmental dimensions of development is not yet well explored in literature. Thus, this study aims to investigate the influence of multiple indicators of religion on pro-environmental behaviour and attitudes, and whether its effect varies across different income categories of countries. To this end, we use the World Value Survey data from up to 212,995 respondents across 91 countries collected from 1989 to 2014. The results of the study show that religion induces pro-environmental behaviour. Religion promotes individuals' willingness to contribute money and dampens individuals' protest against contributing for environmental protection. Similarly, religion has a positive effect on ecological donation and participation in the environmental demonstration. Furthermore, the results of this study indicate that the effects of some of the religious indicators on stated willingness to contribute for environmental protection are more pronounced in low-income countries than countries in high-income categories. These results highlight the importance of religion on environmental protection and suggest that integrating religion into environmental policies and programs may yield better environmental outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-113
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Policy
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021


  • Religion
  • ecological donation
  • protest behaviour
  • willingness to contribute
  • environmental protection


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