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The politics of pollution: party regimes and air quality in Canada


  • Ross McKitrick


Environmental concerns often figure prominently in opinion polls. But do election outcomes actually affect the environment? I test the influence of the party in power on urban air pollution in 13 Canadian cities. The government's political stripe is not reliably associated with positive or negative effects on air pollution. Provincial parties on both the right and the left are associated with elevated levels of some air contaminants. Federal effects also go in contrasting directions. Overall it appears a change in government is unlikely to be a reliable predictor of changes in air pollution.

Suggested Citation

  • Ross McKitrick, 2006. "The politics of pollution: party regimes and air quality in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(2), pages 604-620, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:39:y:2006:i:2:p:604-620

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1995. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 769-798.
    2. Burgess, Simon & Turon, Helene, 2000. "Unemployment dynamics, duration and equilibrium: evidence from Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20162, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Stephen Nickell & Patricia Jones & Glenda Quintini, 2002. "A Picture of Job Insecurity Facing British Men," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 1-27, January.
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    1. repec:eee:enepol:v:113:y:2018:i:c:p:386-400 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Wen, Jun & Hao, Yu & Feng, Gen-Fu & Chang, Chun-Ping, 2016. "Does government ideology influence environmental performance? Evidence based on a new dataset," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 232-246.
    3. Christian Bjørnskov & Niklas Potrafke, 2012. "Political Ideology and Economic Freedom Across Canadian Provinces," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 143-166.
    4. Y.H. Farzin & C.A. Bond, 2012. "Unbundling Technology Adoption and tfp at the Firm Level. Do Intangibles Matter?," Working Papers 2012.97, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    5. Niklas Potrafke, 2010. "Labor market deregulation and globalization: empirical evidence from OECD countries," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 146(3), pages 545-571, September.
    6. Chang, Chun Ping & Berdiev, Aziz N., 2011. "The political economy of energy regulation in OECD countries," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 816-825, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation


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