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How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy

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  • John List
  • Daniel Sturm

Abstract

In this paper we explore to what extent secondary policy issues are influenced by electoral incentives. We develop a political agency model in which a politician decides on both a frontline policy issue, such as the level of public spending, and a secondary policy issue, such as environmental policy. The model shows under which conditions the incumbent finds it worthwhile to manipulate the secondary policy to attract additional votes to his platform. We test the predictions of the model using state-level panel data on Gubernatorial environmental policy choices over the years 1960-2000. In contrast to the popular view that choices on secondary policy instruments are largely determined by lobbying, we find strong effects of electoral incentives on environmental policy.

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  • John List & Daniel Sturm, 2004. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," Natural Field Experiments 00482, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00482
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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