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Environmental Constituent Interest, Green Electricity Policies, and Legislative Voting


  • Andrew Chupp, B.


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Chupp, B., 2011. "Environmental Constituent Interest, Green Electricity Policies, and Legislative Voting," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 254-266, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:62:y:2011:i:2:p:254-266

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Rowe, Robert D. & Lang, Carolyn M. & Chestnut, Lauraine G., 1996. "Critical factors in computing externalities for electricity resources," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 363-394, December.
    4. Muller, Nicholas Z. & Mendelsohn, Robert, 2007. "Measuring the damages of air pollution in the United States," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-14, July.
    5. Gilligan, Thomas W & Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Deviations from Constituent Interests: The Role of Legislative Structure and Political Parties in the States," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(3), pages 383-401, July.
    6. Dennis, Christopher & Medoff, Marshall H. & Magnera, Michael, 2008. "Constituents' economic interests and senator support for spending limitations," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2443-2453, December.
    7. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1990. "The Apparent Ideological Behavior of Legislators: Testing for Principal-Agent Slack in Political Institutions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 103-131, April.
    8. Peltzman, Sam, 1984. "Constituent Interest and Congressional Voting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 181-210, April.
    9. Sayeed R. Mehmood & Daowei Zhang, 2001. "A Roll Call Analysis of the Endangered Species Act Amendments," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 501-512.
    10. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1984. "Capture and Ideology in the Economic Theory of Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 279-300, June.
    11. Kau, James B & Rubin, Paul H, 1979. "Self-Interest, Ideology, and Logrolling in Congressional Voting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 365-384, October.
    12. Fort, Rodney & Hallagan, William & Morong, Cyril & Stegner, Tesa, 1993. "The Ideological Component of Senate Voting: Different Principles or Different Principals?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(1-2), pages 39-57, June.
    13. 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 943-955, December.
    14. Menz, Fredric C., 2005. "Green electricity policies in the United States: case study," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(18), pages 2398-2410, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Banzhaf, H. Spencer & Chupp, B. Andrew, 2012. "Fiscal federalism and interjurisdictional externalities: New results and an application to US Air pollution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 449-464.
    2. Schumacher, Ingmar, 2014. "An Empirical Study of the Determinants of Green Party Voting," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 306-318.
    3. Millimet, Daniel L., 2013. "Environmental Federalism: A Survey of the Empirical Literature," IZA Discussion Papers 7831, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Fredriksson, Per G. & Wollscheid, Jim R., 2014. "Environmental decentralization and political centralization," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 402-410.
    5. B. Chupp, 2014. "Political interaction in the senate: estimating a political “spatial” weights matrix and an application to lobbying behavior," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(3), pages 521-538, September.
    6. Lee, Donghyun & Kim, Minki & Lee, Jungyoun, 2016. "Adoption of green electricity policies: Investigating the role of environmental attitudes via big data-driven search-queries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 187-201.
    7. Hitaj, Claudia, 2013. "Wind power development in the United States," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 394-410.


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