This study explores whether young people’s propensity to take responsibility for the environment—and, consequently, to make pro-environment consumption choices—is negatively affected by living in a condition of social exclusion, such that of NEETs (i.e., Not in Education, Employment or Training). By adopting a mix of comparative methods, we used the fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fs-QCA) to compare European countries to find which configurations of types of NEET can be associated with different levels of perceived individual environmental responsibility. In addition, we implemented a mediation model by using Generalized Structural Equation Modeling (GSEM) estimation, to find whether the association between the NEET condition and the level of perceived environmental responsibility is mediated by individual happiness—as a proxy of social exclusion’s consequences on the individual’s well-being. Fs-QCA results are integrated at the micro level to test context-related variation. Data come from the 2016 European Social Survey, the 2016 Eurofound report, and the 2018 Italian Youth Report. We found that the presence of more vulnerable NEETs is associated with lower levels of perceived environmental responsibility. At the micro level, only in some countries does the condition of NEET lead to attribute environmental responsibility to the institutions, rather than to the single individual, and it seems related to a general lower well-being.
- consumption choices
- mixed method