The differential effects of Protestant fundamentalism on female and male environmental cooperation.




Martinez, Brandon C.

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A number of recent studies indicate that Protestant fundamentalism is associated with lower levels of generalized trust. In this paper, we ask: What are the implications of fundamentalists’ lower trust levels? We focus specifically on cooperative decisions that benefit the greater good. Past research finds that trust promotes cooperation, but more recent work suggests that trust matters more for women than men in making decisions about cooperation. We theorize that because fundamentalism undermines trust, and women’s but not men’s cooperation is predicated on trust, fundamentalism should negatively impact cooperation for women, but not men. That is, we suggest an interaction between gender and fundamentalism on cooperation. We test the arguments in the context of environmental social dilemmas including decisions about recycling, water and energy consumption, and political participation using data from the 2010 General Social Survey. Findings support our predictions and suggest that fundamentalism more acutely undermines cooperation for women versus men.



Fundamentalists., Protestant churches., Trust - Religious aspects., Cooperation.