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Staff photo Malcolm Fairbrother

Malcolm Fairbrother

I am a comparative political sociologist who studies environmental policy and politics, economic globalization, trust, and social science research methods—and the relationships among them.

Research qualifications: Docent



Works at

Hus Y, Beteendevetarhuset & Norra beteendevetarhuset Mediagränd 14, Beteendevetarhuset, Umeå universitet, 901 87 Umeå

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, I received my PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and worked for ten years in Bristol, England. I moved to Umeå in mid-2017.
My earlier research focussed largely on the origins of economic globalization in the 1980s and 90s: Why did the governments of so many countries around the world stop restraining international economic integration, and begin encouraging it instead? This work was qualitative and historical, and I studied how and why Mexico, the U.S., and Canada created the North American Free Trade Agreement.
More recently, I have become a quantitative researcher, developing methods for analyzing international survey data, and applying those methods in studies of trust and public attitudes towards environmental protection. What I've found, using a mix of surveys and survey experiments, is that most people around the world are genuinely concerned about environmental problems, but they are sceptical about the #1 thing environmental policy experts most recommend doing: putting a price on pollution. The reason is that the price would be a tax, and most people are very hostile to taxation—even though new green taxes could easily be offset by cuts to other taxes that people dislike even more.

Frontiers in Climate, Frontiers Media S.A. 2023, Vol. 4
Fairbrother, Malcolm; Rhodes, Ekaterina
Energy Policy, Elsevier 2023, Vol. 175
Gransaull, Gareth; Rhodes, Ekaterina; Fairbrother, Malcolm
Contemporary Sociology, Sage Publications 2022, Vol. 51, (2) : 127-129
Fairbrother, Malcolm
Global Studies Quarterly, Oxford University Press 2022, Vol. 2, (1)
Fairbrother, Malcolm; Long, Tom; Pérez-Armendáriz, Clarisa
Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World, Sage Publications 2022, Vol. 8
Fairbrother, Malcolm; Mewes, Jan; Wilkes, Rima; et al.
International Journal of Sociology, Routledge 2022, Vol. 52, (1) : 49-77
Grönlund, Anne; Fairbrother, Malcolm
Frontiers in Political Science, Frontiers Media S.A. 2021, Vol. 3
Fairbrother, Malcolm; Arrhenius, Gustaf; Bykvist, Krister; et al.
Social Science Research, Elsevier 2021, Vol. 95
Mewes, Jan; Fairbrother, Malcolm; Giordano, Giuseppe Nicola; et al.
Journal of Contemporary China, Routledge 2021, Vol. 30, (132) : 930-944
Wu, Cary; Shi, Zhilei; Wilkes, Rima; et al.
Water, MDPI 2020, Vol. 12, (1)
De Vito, Laura; Fairbrother, Malcolm; Russel, Duncan
Quality and quantity, Springer 2019, Vol. 53, (2) : 1051-1074
Bell, Andrew; Fairbrother, Malcolm; Jones, Kelvyn
New York: Oxford University Press 2019
Fairbrother, Malcolm
Global Environmental Change, Elsevier 2019, Vol. 59
Fairbrother, Malcolm; Johansson Sevä, Ingemar; Kulin, Joakim
Journal of Sex Research, Taylor & Francis 2019, Vol. 56, (6) : 695-704
Fairbrother, Nichole; Hart, Trevor A.; Fairbrother, Malcolm
Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Springer 2019, Vol. 71 : 99-128
Schmidt-Catran, Alexander W.; Fairbrother, Malcolm; Andreß, Hans-Jürgen
Quality and quantity, Vol. 52, (5) : 2031-2036
Bell, Andrew; Jones, Kelvyn; Fairbrother, Malcolm