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Description: A growing body of research has attempted to measure the propensity of individuals to prioritize environmental issues over economic objectives. A frequently used item for this purpose asks respondents to choose between protecting the environment at the cost of less economic growth and growing the economy at the expense of less environmental protection (Cosgrove, 1982; Dunlap, 1991, 2008; Diekman & Franzen, 1999; Guber, 2001; Newport, 2009; Anderson & Stephenson, 2011). Despite its prominence in the literature, several critiques regarding the forced-choice dichotomous environment-economy trade-off question have been raised (Dietz, Stern, & Guagnano, 1998; Klineberg, McKeever, & Rothenbach., 1998; Dunlap & Jones, 2002; Hand & Macheski, 2003; Kaplowitz, Lupi, Yeboah, & Thorp, 2013). Building on this work, we demonstrate that the pool of environmentalists identified using forced-choice dichotomous questions constitutes a heterogeneous coalition of individuals composed of more and less assertive supporters of environmental protection. In fact, the pool of respondents who initially indicate support for environmental protection decreases substantively when respondents are explicitly asked a follow-up question probing the willingness to continue prioritizing the environment in the face of direct economic costs. Here, we adopt this measurement strategy, exploring its capacity to both distinguish between strong and soft environmentalists and to explain attitudes toward one of the most contested environmental policies: a carbon tax. DOI:


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