Climate Change in the Indian Mind: Role of Collective Efficacy in Climate Change Adaptation




Thaker, Jagadish

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Successful climate change adaptation requires behavioral and policy changes at the individual, community, and national levels. Although most research on adaptive capacity focuses on the role of the economy and technology, an increasing body of research suggests that socially shared beliefs, norms, and networks are also critical in increasing individuals’ and communities’ adaptive capacity. Based on Bandura’s social cognitive theory, this dissertation examined the role of collective efficacy—people’s shared beliefs about their group’s capabilities to accomplish collective tasks—in influencing Indians’ adaptive capacity to deal with drinking water supply scarcity, a condition likely to be exacerbated in the future by climate change. The hypotheses were individual-level collective efficacy perceptions will be positively associated with (1) behavioral involvement in adaptation, and (2) support for adaptation policy, and (3) communityx level collective efficacy perceptions will be positively associated with community adaptation measures. To test these hypotheses, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 4031 randomly selected Indian respondents using a stratified random national sampling plan during December 2011 and January 2012, resulting in a response rate of 39.7%. To test these hypothesis, correlational analysis, and hierarchical regression models was used. Partial support for the first hypothesis was found: individuals’ with robust collective efficacy beliefs are more likely to be involved in community activities, although the relationship is not linear. The second hypothesis was fully supported: individuals with high levels of collective efficacy beliefs are more likely to support government adaptation policies. The third hypothesis was also fully supported: communities with high collective efficacy are more likely to implement adaptation measures. These results demonstrate that collective efficacy beliefs are positively associated with individuals’ and communities’ capacity to successfully adapt to climate change. Taking steps to increase the collective efficacy beliefs of community members—for example, through mass media campaigns—may bolster the adaptive capacity of communities to climate change; this important possibility should be tested in future research.



Collective Efficacy, Climate Change Adaptation, Community Engagement, Behaviorial Involvement, Policy Support, Community Adaptation