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Gen Z, Personality Traits and Sustainability Awareness: An Econometric Investigation

Canova, Luciano and Paladino, Giovanna (2023): Gen Z, Personality Traits and Sustainability Awareness: An Econometric Investigation.

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Since 2018 the awareness of sustainability issues and climate change has increased significantly, especially among the younger generation. The COVID-19 pandemic and the related shutdown of many economic activities contributed to raising concerns about the conservation of biodiversity, the environment, and personal economic well-being. In this study, we examine how members of Generation Z deal with issues related to environmental sustainability and personal money management. By using the technique of the principal component analysis, two synthetic indexes were computed from a set of variables associated with the answers to a questionnaire that investigates the approach to environmental and economic sustainability by a representative sample of 400 Italian youngsters aged between 13 and 18 years. The GREEN INDEX is the result of the aggregation of environmental practices while the MONEY INDEX represents habits in personal money management. They are used as dependent variables of linear, ordered probit, and bivariate probit regressions to detect how socio-demographic factors and personality characteristics are associated with sustainability awareness. Our results show the overall importance of character traits - such as curiosity and scrupulousness - in improving the level of awareness and the strong statistical association between attention to money management and a sense of responsibility toward the environment. This finding hints that working on one dimension may produce a positive spillover effect on the other, setting in motion a virtuous circle for policy implementation.

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