No SDES-2017-21
Title Social value orientation and topography in urbanization: A case of Beijing, China
Author Zhang Jingchao, Koji Kotani and Tatsuyoshi Saijo
Abstract Urbanization leads to cultural changes that shape people's social values and behaviors. Topographical variation of mountainous, hilly and plains areas is considered one of the main factors to reflect different degrees of urbanization, following distance to urban cities. Therefore, it is hypothesized that there may be a topographical difference in distributions of social value orientations (SVOs) that categorize people's social preferences into the prosocial, the proself and the unidentified. To examine this hypothesis, we conduct field surveys and experiments in mountainous, hilly and plains areas of Beijing, collecting sociodemographic information and SVOs of 596 samples. We find that proportions of proself people are higher in plains and hilly areas than mountainous areas, as the distance to the center of Beijing becomes shorter. Also, a proportion of unidentified people is prominent in hilly areas as a transitional society. Overall, this result suggests that social preferences transition from the prosocial to the unidentified and then to the proself with the topographical changes, implying that new social mechanisms shall be necessary to affect people's social preferences for inducing prosocial behaviors in the progress of urbanization. Otherwise, important social problems such as air pollution or sustainability, which require further cooperation for the solutions, will pose more danger in the future.
Revised version published in Environment, Development and Sustainability