Environmental Constituent Interest, Green Electricity Policies, and Legislative Voting
Research in political economy has traditionally sought to disentangle the effects of legislative ideology and constituent interest in explaining policy decisions. Frequently, proxy variables are used to measure constituent interest. However, these measures do not adequately reflect true constituent interest, which is based upon the costs and benefits of the policies under consideration, incorporating the scope of the policies. Using Haiku, a detailed model of the US electricity sector, and TAF, an integrated assessment model of pollution pathways and valuation, I construct economic measures of constituent interest at the state level as well as for federal policy. I then use these measures to analyze state adoption of more stringent green electricity policies and congressional roll-call voting on federal environmental policy. Previous studies that use proxy measures of constituent interest typically find that the legislator ideology matters more, while my study shows that both ideology and constituent interest are significant factors.
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