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How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy

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  • John A. List
  • Daniel M. Sturm

Abstract

In this paper we explore to what extent secondary policy issues are influenced by electoral incentives. We develop a political agency model in which a politician decides on both a frontline policy issue, such as the level of public spending, and a secondary policy issue, such as environmental policy. The model shows under which conditions the incumbent finds it worthwhile to manipulate the secondary policy to attract additional votes to his platform. We test the predictions of the model using state-level panel data on Gubernatorial environmental policy choices over the years 1960-2000. In contrast to the popular view that choices on secondary policy instruments are largely determined by lobbying, we find strong effects of electoral incentives on environmental policy.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10609.

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Date of creation: Jul 2004
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Publication status: published as John A List & Daniel M Sturm, 2006. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1249-1281, November.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10609

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  16. Nicolas Marceau & Michael Smart, 2002. "Corporate Lobbying and Commitment Failure in Capital Taxation," CESifo Working Paper Series 676, CESifo Group Munich.
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