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Carbon Geography: The Political Economy of Congressional Support for Legislation Intended to Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Production

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  • Michael I. Cragg
  • Matthew E. Kahn

Abstract

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14963.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Publication status: published as Michael I. Cragg & Yuyu Zhou & Kevin Gurney & Matthew E. Kahn, 2013. "Carbon Geography: The Political Economy Of Congressional Support For Legislation Intended To Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Production," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(2), pages 1640-1650, 04.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14963

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  1. Aldy, Joseph E. & Pizer, William A., 2008. "Issues in Designing U.S. Climate Change Policy," Discussion Papers dp-08-20, Resources For the Future.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Robert N. Stavins, 2008. "Addressing climate change with a comprehensive US cap-and-trade system," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 298-321, Summer.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
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  5. U.S High Carbon Exceptionalism
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  11. Al Gore Changes His Mind on the Beneficial Role of Climate Change Adaptation
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. David Popp, 2012. "The Role of Technological Change in Green Growth," NBER Working Papers 18506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Anthoff, David & Hahn, Robert W., 2009. "Government Failure and Market Failure: On the Inefficiency of Environmental and Energy Policy," Working paper 6, Regulation2point0.
  7. Popp, David, 2012. "The role of technological change in green growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6239, The World Bank.

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