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Who votes for public environmental goods in California?: Evidence from a spatial analysis of voting for environmental ballot measures

  • Wu, Xiaoyu
  • Cutter, Bowman
Registered author(s):

    Voting referenda provide direct evidence of the demand for public goods. A number of previous studies have used referenda to analyze the support for public environmental goods. These studies have used aggregate data from large jurisdictional units (usually counties) and summary income measures such as the mean or median, and have usually found that higher income areas offer greater support for environmental propositions. We examine environmental referenda voting in California using census block group data, spatial dependence controls, and detailed income distribution data. We find that household income has a negative marginal effect on environmental referenda voting for most of the income range when using census block data. In addition, controls for spatial dependence significantly reduce the magnitude of most coefficients. This suggests that OLS estimates of referenda determinants are biased. We also show that county level data may be subject to severe aggregation bias and might not be appropriate for referenda studies.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VDY-51G2G3X-2/2/df50ecc01a4c35b4fe0afd398858bc29
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 70 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (January)
    Pages: 554-563

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:3:p:554-563
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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    1. Kelejian, Harry H & Prucha, Ingmar R, 1998. "A Generalized Spatial Two-Stage Least Squares Procedure for Estimating a Spatial Autoregressive Model with Autoregressive Disturbances," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 99-121, July.
    2. Matthew J. Kotchen & Shawn M. Powers, 2004. "Explaining The Appearance and Success of Voter Referenda For Open-Space Conservation," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-06, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    3. Philippe Thalmann, 2004. "The Public Acceptance of Green Taxes: 2 Million Voters Express Their Opinion," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 179-217, 04.
    4. Nelson, Erik & Uwasu, Michinori & Polasky, Stephen, 2007. "Voting on open space: What explains the appearance and support of municipal-level open space conservation referenda in the United States?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 580-593, May.
    5. Daniel Halbheer & Sarah Niggli & Armin Schmutzler, 2003. "What does it take to sell Environmental Policy? An empirical Analysis of Referendum Data," SOI - Working Papers 0304, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Apr 2005.
    6. 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.
    7. Deacon, Robert T & Shapiro, Perry, 1975. "Private Preference for Collective Goods Revealed Through Voting on Referenda," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 943-55, December.
    8. Holger Sieg & V. Kerry Smith & H. Spencer Banzhaf & Randy Walsh, 2000. "Estimating the General Equilibrium Benefits of Large Policy Changes: The Clean Air Act Revisited," NBER Working Papers 7744, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    10. Matthew E. Kahn, 2002. "Demographic change and the demand for environmental regulation," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(1), pages 45-62.
    11. D.A.L. Auld, 1980. "Preference Revelation for Public Goods: an Empirical Analysis," Public Finance Review, , vol. 8(3), pages 277-289, July.
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    13. Travis G. Coan & Mirya R. Holman, 2008. "Voting Green," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1121-1135.
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