Social Capital, Knowledge, and the Environment: The Effect of Interpersonal Communication on Climate Change Knowledge and Policy Preferences Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This article contributes to the literature on social capital and the environment in two ways. First, we identify a relationship between interpersonal discussion networks and assessed and perceived individual scientific knowledge. We then examine if knowledge mediates the relationship between discussion networks and policy preferences about climate change (CC). Using nationally representative survey data, we examine the extent to which an individual’s interpersonal discussion network is related to knowledge on CC and support for CC policy. We find those who discuss climate have higher levels of perceived knowledge, but discussion is not related to individuals’ levels of assessed knowledge. We also find that knowledge does not fully mediate the relationship between discussion and policy preferences, implying that interpersonal discussion may influence CC policy preferences independent of perceived and assessed knowledge. We conclude with remarks about the importance of knowledge perception as well as offer some avenues to extend this research.

author list (cited authors)

  • Hannibal, B., & Vedlitz, A.

citation count

  • 4

publication date

  • July 2018