Sustainable Middle Classes in Middle Income Countries: Transforming Carbon Consumption Patterns (SMMICC)

The unprecedented growth of the new middle classes in middle income developing

countries implies a strong growth in both consumption and carbon emissions. This interdisciplinary research project analyses the drivers of individual consumption choices of the new middle classes and the influence of different middle class consumer groups on policy. The project explores concrete options to change existing trends towards low-carbon consumption.

Project Lead:
Babette Never

Project Team:
Hanna Fuhrmann
Sascha Kuhn

Financing:
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Time Frame:
2017 - 2021 / ongoing

Project description

The unprecedented growth of the new middle classes in middle income developing countries implies a strong growth in both consumption and carbon emissions, particularly if consumption patterns mirror the lifestyles of industrialized countries. The drivers of carbon consumption choices of the new middle classes are as unclear as the political relevance of middle class groups as political actors, i.e. citizen-consumers. Understanding both is important for determining future consumption trends. This project analyses

(1) the drivers of the new middle classes’ carbon consumption patterns at a micro level,
(2) the influence of middle class groups on the political-economy of emission-related policy (citizen-consumers),
(3) how to change resulting trends towards low-carbon consumption.

The project takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining insight from economics (income), political science (participation, power), social psychology and sociology (status, values, implementation intentions) in an innovative, multi-phased mixed-methods design. The project will conduct a cross-regional, comparative analysis of the emerging middle classes’ carbon consumption patterns in Ghana, Peru and the Philippines. The focus lies on the emission intensive sectors transport, housing and appliances. Drawing on a combination of household surveys, qualitative interviews and a survey experiment of concrete policy interventions, the aims are to

(a) close an empirical research gap with the assembly of a unique dataset,
(b) contribute to theory-building on political consumption and citizen-consumership in middle income countries, and
(c) identify and communicate policy recommendations to decision-makers.

Publications

Project Coordination

Sonja Packschies

Co-operation Partner

Current Publications

Pension schemes in MENA: generous—but not to the poor!

Loewe, Markus
Externe Publikationen of 13 December 2017