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Voting on the environment: Price or ideology? Evidence from Swiss referendums


  • Bornstein, Nicholas
  • Lanz, Bruno


Studies on preferences for environmental quality usually posit that price and income explain most of the observed choices. Incorporating recent advances in the economics of non-selfish behavior into the traditional public choice approach, we argue that the willingness to contribute to public goods as well as social norms need to be taken into account when analyzing environmental voting outcomes. We study aggregate results of three ballot proposals in Switzerland put to vote in the year 2000 which foresaw different tax schemes on fossil energy. Our main results show that the aggregate level choice pattern is to be explained by income as well as structural attributes that make costs and benefits of the projects vary. More importantly, our results underline the importance of including variables pertaining to the notion of ideology, both in terms of statistical fit and obtaining unbiased estimates for price and income determinants.

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  • Bornstein, Nicholas & Lanz, Bruno, 2008. "Voting on the environment: Price or ideology? Evidence from Swiss referendums," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 430-440, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:67:y:2008:i:3:p:430-440

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    2. Martha Bicket & Robin Vanner, 2016. "Designing Policy Mixes for Resource Efficiency: The Role of Public Acceptability," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(4), pages 1-17, April.
    3. Andrea Baranzini & Stefano Carattini, 2017. "Effectiveness, earmarking and labeling: testing the acceptability of carbon taxes with survey data," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 19(1), pages 197-227, January.
    4. Stefano Carattini & Andrea Baranzini & Philippe Thalmann & Frédéric Varone & Frank Vöhringer, 2017. "Green Taxes in a Post-Paris World: Are Millions of Nays Inevitable?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(1), pages 97-128, September.
    5. Wu, Xiaoyu & Cutter, Bowman, 2011. "Who votes for public environmental goods in California?: Evidence from a spatial analysis of voting for environmental ballot measures," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 554-563, January.
    6. Biresselioglu, Mehmet Efe & Zengin Karaibrahimoglu, Yasemin, 2012. "The government orientation and use of renewable energy: Case of Europe," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 29-37.
    7. Sven Rudolph & Friedrich Schneider, 2011. "Did the Japanese Patient Follow the Doctor's Orders? Mostly no! A Public Choice Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Schemes in Japan before and after the Earthquake," CESifo Working Paper Series 3639, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Dorsch, Michael, 2011. "The Willingness to Pay for Environmental Protection: Are Developing Economies Different?," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 24, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
    9. Andreas Ziegler, 2017. "Economic calculus or personal and social values? A micro-econometric analysis of the acceptance of climate and energy policy measures," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201716, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    10. Andrea Kollmann & Friedrich Schneider, 2010. "Why Does Environmental Policy in Representative Democracies Tend to Be Inadequate? A Preliminary Public Choice Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(12), pages 1-25, November.
    11. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke & Heinrich Ursprung, 2016. "Behavioral Determinants of Proclaimed Support for Environment Protection Policies," CESifo Working Paper Series 5993, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Migheli, Matteo, 2014. "Preferences for government interventions in the economy: Does gender matter?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 39-48.
    13. repec:eee:enepol:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:359-368 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00492178 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:4:p:366:d:68173 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Gabriel Ahlfeldt & Wolfgang Maennig & Malte Steenbeck, 2016. "Après Nous le Déluge? Direct Democracy and Intergenerational Conflicts in Ageing Societies," CESifo Working Paper Series 5779, CESifo Group Munich.


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