Understanding Attitudes toward Energy Security: Results of a Cross-National Survey

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Knox-Hayes, Janelle
Brown, Marilyn A.
Sovacool, Benjamin K.
Wang, Yu
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Energy security is embedded in a complex system encompassing factors that constitute the social environment in which individuals are immersed. Everything from education, to access to resources to policy and cultural values of particular places affects perceptions and experiences of energy security. This article examines the types of energy security challenges that nations face and characterizes the policy responses that are often used to address these challenges. Drawing from a survey of energy consumers in ten countries, we conduct a cross-national comparison of energy security attitudes and analyze each country’s corresponding energy resources, consumption characteristics and energy policies. Through multivariate regression analysis and case studies we find that socio-demographic and regional characteristics affect attitudes towards energy security. Specifically, a strong relationship exists between level of reliance on oil imports and level of concern for a variety of energy security characteristics including availability, affordability and equity. Our results also reaffirm the importance of gender and age in shaping perceptions of security. Level of development, reliance on oil and strong energy efficiency policies also affect individuals’ sense of energy security. In sum, we find that energy security is a highly context-dependent condition that is best understood from a nuanced and multi-dimensional perspective.
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