Heterogeneous treatment effects using an LPM and Specification (6)

Heterogeneous treatment effects using an LPM and Specification (6)

We estimate one model per subheading and include a treatment effect (Post) per subgroup instead of the overall treatment effect. The figure plots the point estimates and the 95 percent confidence intervals. See Supplementary Table 5 for exact statistics and the number of observations of population subgroups. Source data are provided as a Source Data file.

We find no conclusive evidence

We find no statistically significant evidence that climate protests negatively impact climate change concerns in different subpopulations (see Fig. 4 for the plotted coefficients). We test effects depending on age (above median: coef. = 1.59pp, p = 0.003; below median: coef. = 0.81pp, p = 0.212), sex (female: coef. = 1.51pp, p = 0.026; male: coef. = 0.83pp, p = 0.165), income (above median: coef. = 0.82pp, p = 0.012; below median: coef. = 1.54pp, p = 0.052), education (above median: coef. = 0.66pp, p = 0.364; below median: coef. = 1.98pp, p = 0.025), attitudes towards the future (optimistic: coef. = 1.56pp, p = 0.056; pessimistic: coef. = 2.18pp, p = 0.041), political orientation (right-leaning: coef. = 3.02pp, p = 0.007; center: coef. = 2.05pp, p = 0.069; left-leaning: coef. = 1.69pp, p = 0.118), and interest in politics ((very) strong: coef. = 2.09pp, p = 0.001; weak or none: coef. = 0.49pp, p = 0.478). A rich body of literature demonstrates that individual-level factors, ranging from socioeconomic characteristics to values and worldviews, are associated with people’s beliefs AsiaMe baДџlantД±sД± and concerns about climate change 33,34 . Moreover, while Germany is less polarized than the US 35 , political orientation may result in different reactions to climate protests. However, we find no statistically significant differences between effects on any population groups (age: p = 0.231, sex: p = 0.425, income: p = 0.334, education: p = 0.309, attitude towards future: p = 0.697, political orientation: p = 0.572 and p = 0.332, interest in politics: p = 0.101). Supplementary Table 5 provides detailed statistics.

Furthermore, the literature documents that civil disobedience, compared to demonstrative protests, might be particularly effective for groups that are resistant to the climate movements cause 36,37,38,39,40 , including right-leaning groups 33,34 . We test this hypothesis by analyzing whether different protest types differ in their heterogeneous effects by subpopulation and pre-protest concern level. Supplementary Fig. 7a displays the results for pre-protest concern level by protest type, while Supplementary Fig. 7b shows whether the heterogeneous effects by political orientation differ for the two kinds of protest movements. The results should be interpreted cautiously since the sample size of certain groups is relatively small when estimating heterogeneous effects by subsets of protests. Future studies with larger sample sizes may shed more conclusive light on whether distinct types of climate protests are differently effective in certain parts of the population.

Discussion

The rise of climate change concerns in the past few years 1 has coincided with new climate movements capturing the world’s attention 41 . Proponents stress protests as crucial drivers of public attention to climate change, while critics claim they are counterproductive to protesters’ aims.

We find that concerns about climate change increase following protests, implying that these protests do not merely preach to the converted. Our results suggest that the analyzed protests have been an effective means to remind society of the consequences of climate change time and again. Our results further suggest that climate protests in Germany have been particularly effective when the population was not yet broadly sensitized to the consequences of climate change. Lastly, we do not find statistically significant evidence that salient climate protests negatively affect climate change concerns, irrespective of analyzing different protest tactics or subpopulations. In the context of the analyzed protests, our results thus do not provide evidence for worries of backfiring of confrontational protests related to concerns about the consequences of climate change. Our results relate to recent findings in the psychological and social movement literature observing that certain types of civil disobedience, also referred to as non-normative non-violent protests are effective in reaching the protesters’ cause. For instance, studies on the US civil rights movement have shown that sit-ins have successfully influenced groups opposing the protesters’ goals 36,37 . This effectiveness may be attributed to the strategic disruption caused by these protests, demonstrating society’s dependence on the protesters to the resistant groups 38 . The disruptive nature of the actions in these cases may be effective by still clearly conveying the constructive objectives of the movement, a concept known as constructive disruption 39,40 .