It's hardly surprising that people who regularly read a paper version of the newspaper are four times more likely to recycle paper, but how about recycling other things, like glass and plastic? Glad you asked.
- Newspaper readers were four times more likely to recycle cans.
- They were twice as likely to recycle glass.
- And they were three times as likely to recycle plastic.
To test this I constructed a quick-and-dirty logistic regression model to predict the likelihood to say you recycle paper. Note my italics on say. I have no doubt many overestimate such positive behaviors like voting, attending religious services, and yes -- recycling. But let's fight with the measurement we have. To predict recycling of paper I threw in some basic demographics like age, education, and the like. I threw in whether you're a strong Republican or strong Democrat. I included political knowledge. I threw in another recycling behavior, cans, as a control. And then I added reading the newspaper to model. Yeah, it's an ugly equation, but allow me have my geeky fun.
Below are the results, vastly simplified and stripped of statistics. Keep in mind this is a regression, meaning all these factors are statistically controlling for one another.
- What does NOT predict recycling paper? Being a Republican or Democrat. In other words, your party affiliation doesn't really matter. I like that.
- What does predict recycling paper? Just about everything, even controlling for each other. Older, more educated, higher income, non-black respondents all report higher recycling. Females more than males. The greater your political knowledge score, the more likely you recycle. And yes, recycling cans means you are 14 times more likely to also recycle paper. Even after controlling for all this -- regularly reading a print newspaper means you are more likely to recycle paper. Duh, I know, but kinda interesting nonetheless.
I'm fairly sure it has something to do with good citizenship. That's roughly what I'm going to play with for a paper, not a blog entry, but that's going to take more time and won't include such quick-and-dirty analyses. You get roughly the same results if you replace print newspaper reading with watching television news. But you get no effect for those who read Internet news sites or blogs. This supports my working hypothesis that there's something different about mainstream news and how it promotes good citizenship. Be watching an academic journal near you for the results.