Driving Forces of Social Institutions on Climate Change Policy Support in Iran

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:06
Oral Presentation
Sadegh SALEHI, University of Mazandaran, Iran
Naser FATTAHI, Azad University,Noor, Iran
Fereydoun KHOSHFAR, Golestan University, Gorgan, Iran
Yaser ESLAMI, Islamic Azad University, Iran
Razieh Giti KHAZAIE, University of Tehran, Iran
Previous research has examined the role of individuals’ beliefs, knowledge, the NEP, etc. on climate change policy support (Takizi, 2015), but comparative work on social institutions has remained largely understudied. To address this gap, the present study resorts to institutional theory to investigate the impact of societal institutions on climate change policy support. Our empirical context is Iran. The Iranian government has launched a national strategic plan aimed to adapt and mitigate the risks of climate change as the country is increasingly facing multiple environmental challenges. In certain areas such as the Golestan and Ghazvin provinces, people are experiencing water shortages and desertification. As such, the government has been trying to gain local people’s support for its climate change program; yet, applying a top-down (Command and Control) policy has not yielded positive results (Ebrahimkhani, 2016). In our study, we used a mixed method approach. We carried out semi-structured qualitative interviews with 26 people to explore the major social factors that shape people’s behaviors. We also collected quantitative data from 240 people selected randomly. Interviews and data collection were carried out in 2017. Our comparative findings show that while personal factors (e.g., environmental knowledge, personal efficiency and information resources) and government institutions do not play a significant role in shaping people’s behaviors, the institutions of religion and family in both province do generate support for climate change policy. The results of the study suggest that to make an effective agency-structure relationship (Giddens, 1984) in Iran, policy makers should consider the structural factors like religion and family to encourage climate change policy support.