Formal education is theorised to be an essential vehicle to promote and trigger pro‐environmental attitudes and behavioural changes among citizens via the increase of public awareness and concern. However, robust estimations of its causal effect on individuals’ concern for the environment are scarce. This study aimed to estimate the effect of educational attainment on environmental concern in China, addressing the problem of endogeneity. China is the largest emitter of CO2 and faces severe environmental problems due to its rapid process of industrialisation and urbanisation. The findings show that educational attainment has a robust positive causal effect on environmental concern in China. After addressing potential endogeneity issues using an instrumental variable approach, the effect is stronger than a conventional ordinal least squares estimation. Thus, education is a crucial path of action to promote environmental concern and subsequent pro‐environmental behaviour in China.
Bibliographical noteFrancisco Olivos acknowledges the support of the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme of the Research Grants Council, Hong Kong SAR.
- educational attainment
- environmental concern
- instrumental variable