End-Times Theology, the Shadow of the Future, and Public Resistance to Addressing Global Climate Change

Barker, David C.; Bearce, David H.
Political Research Quarterly

The authors examine U.S. public attitudes regarding global climate change, addressing the puzzle of why support for governmental action on this front is tepid relative to what existing theories predict. Introducing the theoretical concept of relative sociotropic time horizons, the authors show that believers in Christian end-times theology are less likely to support policies designed to curb global warming than are other Americans. They then provide robustness checks by analyzing other policy attitudes. In so doing, the authors provide empirical evidence to suggest that citizens possessing shorter “shadows of the future” often resist policies trading short-term costs for hypothetical long-term benefits.