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Carbon Geography: The Political Economy Of Congressional Support For Legislation Intended To Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Production


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Stringent regulation for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions will impose different costs across geographical regions. Low-carbon, environmentalist states, such as California, would bear less of the incidence of such regulation than high-carbon Midwestern states. Such anticipated costs are likely to influence Congressional voting patterns. This paper uses several geographical data sets to document that conservative, poor areas have higher per-capita carbon emissions than liberal, richer areas. Representatives from such areas are shown to have much lower probabilities of voting in favor of anti-carbon legislation. In the 111th Congress, the Energy and Commerce Committee consists of members who represent high carbon districts. These geographical facts suggest that the Obama Administration and the Waxman Committee will face distributional challenges in building a majority voting coalition in favor of internalizing the carbon externality.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 51 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 1640-1650

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:51:y:2013:i:2:p:1640-1650

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  1. Stavins, Robert, 2007. "Addressing Climate Change with a Comprehensive U.S. Cap-and-Trade System," Working Paper Series rwp07-053, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn, 2008. "The Greenness of Cities: Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Urban Development," NBER Working Papers 14238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Levitt, Steven D, 1996. "How Do Senators Vote? Disentangling the Role of Voter Preferences, Party Affiliation, and Senate Ideology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 425-41, June.
  4. Aldy, Joseph E. & Pizer, William A., 2008. "Issues in Designing U.S. Climate Change Policy," Discussion Papers dp-08-20, Resources For the Future.
  5. Gilbert E. Metcalf & Sergey Paltsev & John Reilly & Henry Jacoby & Jennifer F. Holak, 2008. "Analysis of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Tax Proposals," NBER Working Papers 13980, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Burtraw, Dallas & Sweeney, Richard & Walls, Margaret, 2008. "The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sit," Discussion Papers dp-08-28, Resources For the Future.
  7. Pashigian, B Peter, 1985. "Environmental Regulation: Whose Self-interests Are Being Protected?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 23(4), pages 551-84, October.
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Blog mentions

As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Chapter Eleven: The Challenge of Reducing Global Greenhouse Gas Production
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2013-08-09 23:50:00
  2. Al Gore's WSJ Editorial on Carbon Intensive Portfolios
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2013-10-31 18:15:00
  3. Why Does The Climate Casino Play Down Adaptation?
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2014-02-18 20:41:00
  4. Carbon Politics and Economic Research
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2014-03-11 14:30:00
  5. Suburbanites Vote Against Carbon Pricing
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2014-04-05 18:40:00
  6. Could Climate Change Mitigation Be An Important Issue in the 2016 Election?
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2014-05-22 15:01:00
  7. Krugman on Carbon Mitigation, Self Interest and Ideology
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2014-06-09 17:37:00
  8. The Economics of Green Identity or How to Get Newt and Al Gore to Hold Hands and Jointly Support Reducing GHG Emissions
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2012-01-21 18:04:00
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  10. A Reply to a Smart Email About Rational Expectations and Climate Change Adaptation
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  11. At Least 13,000 Have Watched This Video
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2010-10-08 08:59:00
  12. U.S High Carbon Exceptionalism
    by Matthew E. Kahn in the reality-based community on 2011-10-16 15:07:41
  13. Climate Change Offers a Sharp Test of the Predictive Power of Behavioral Economics
    by Matthew E. Kahn in The Reality-Based Community on 2012-04-09 16:32:22
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    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2012-11-15 00:49:00
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    by Matthew E. Kahn in The Reality-Based Community on 2012-12-28 17:30:11
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    by Matthew E. Kahn in Legal Planet on 2013-01-19 17:07:47
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Cited by:
  1. Samuel Dastrup & Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2011. "Understanding the Solar Home Price Premium: Electricity Generation and “Green” Social Status," NBER Working Papers 17200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David Anthoff & Robert Hahn, 2010. "Government failure and market failure: on the inefficiency of environmental and energy policy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 197-224, Summer.
  3. Stephen P. Holland & Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Nathan C. Parker, 2011. "Some Inconvenient Truths About Climate Change Policy: The Distributional Impacts of Transportation Policies," NBER Working Papers 17386, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Matthew J. Holian & Matthew E. Kahn, 2014. "Household Demand for Low Carbon Public Policies: Evidence from California," NBER Working Papers 19965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Popp, David, 2012. "The role of technological change in green growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6239, The World Bank.
  6. Pollak, Melisa & Meyer, Bryn & Wilson, Elizabeth, 2011. "Reducing greenhouse gas emissions: Lessons from state climate action plans," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 5429-5439, September.
  7. David Popp, 2012. "The Role of Technological Change in Green Growth," NBER Working Papers 18506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.


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