Electoral competition with environmental policy as a second best transfer
Abstract This paper explains why some governments fail to adopt policies that are sufficiently strong, while others adopt policies that are too stringent. Constructing a political economy model in which voters face uncertainty due to the types of politicians and the risk of environmental damage, we show that there is an equilibrium in which a politician uses a weaker environmental policy rather than efficient direct transfers for redistribution. We also show that there is an equilibrium in which a stricter environmental policy can be implemented by a politician who has no incentive to make transfers. Then, we discuss which equilibrium should be more plausible. We conclude that the latter equilibrium in which a too stringent environmental policy emerges can dominate the former unless the citizen's estimate of environmental risk is sufficiently low.
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