Brown bag seminar | Changing prices in a changing climate: Electoral competition and fossil fuel taxation
Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics cordially invites you to join the online brown bag seminar `Changing prices in a changing climate: Electoral competition and fossil fuel taxation´ with Jared Finnegan. Read the abstract below!
About the speaker
Jared J. Finnegan is a S.V. Ciriacy-Wantrup Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University. He studies the comparative political economy of the high-income democracies. His research investigates how governments, voters, and business understand and address long-term societal challenges, particularly climate change.
When do governments increase the price of fossil fuels? Charting the theoretical territory between climate change politics and long-term policymaking, this paper highlights the role of electoral competition in shaping how politicians respond to the intertemporal tradeoff fossil fuel taxation represents. The more secure the government is in office, the more insulated it is from the vagaries of political competition, and the more likely it is to impose costs on constituents today to generate a future stable climate. By influencing governments’ time preferences, competition structures the myopia of elected officials. I test the arguments using an original dataset of gasoline taxation across high-income democracies between 1988-2013. I find robust evidence that higher levels of electoral competition are associated with lower gasoline tax rates, and that the relationship is moderated by the level of costs imposed on voters, but not government partisanship. The analysis points to a crucial mechanism that plausibly accounts for the differential ability of governments to tackle a wider range of long-term policy challenges.
Read the full working paper
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