Effects of political institutions on air quality
We empirically test existing theories on the provision of public goods, in particular air quality, using data on sulfur dioxide (SO2) concentrations from the Global Environment Monitoring Projects for 107 cities in 42 countries from 1971 to 1996. The results are as follows: First, we provide additional support for the claim that the degree of democracy has an independent positive effect on air quality. Second, we find that among democracies, presidential systems are more conducive to air quality than parliamentary ones. Third, in testing competing claims about the effect of interest groups on public goods provision in democracies we establish that labor union strength contributes to lower environmental quality, whereas the strength of green parties has the opposite effect.
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