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Beliefs, Politics, and Environmental Policy

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  • Antony Millner

    (LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science, Grantham Research Institute - LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science)

  • Hélène Ollivier

    () (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

Abstract

Experts and the general public often perceive environmental problems differently. Moreover, regulatory responses to environmental issues often do not coincide with consensus expert recommendations. These two facts are mutually consistent—it is unlikely that regulations based on factual claims that are substantially different from voters' opinions would be politically feasible. Given that the public's beliefs constrain policy choices, it is vital to understand how beliefs are formed, whether they will be biased, and how the inevitable heterogeneity in people's beliefs filters through the political system to affect policy. We review recent theoretical and empirical work on individual inference, social learning, and the supply of information by the media and identify the potential for biased beliefs to arise. We then examine the interaction between beliefs and politics: can national elections and legislative votes be expected to result in unbiased collective decisions, do heterogeneous beliefs induce strategic political actors to alter their policy choices, and how do experts and lobby groups affect the information available to policymakers? We conclude by suggesting that the relationship between beliefs and policy choices is a relatively neglected aspect of the theory of environmental regulation, and a fruitful area for further research.

Suggested Citation

  • Antony Millner & Hélène Ollivier, 2016. "Beliefs, Politics, and Environmental Policy," Post-Print halshs-02459413, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-02459413
    DOI: 10.1093/reep/rew010
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02459413
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    1. Leiter, Debra & Murr, Andreas & Rascón Ramírez, Ericka & Stegmaier, Mary, 2018. "Social networks and citizen election forecasting: The more friends the better," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 235-248.
    2. Stefano Carattini & Andrea Baranzini & Philippe Thalmann & Frédéric Varone & Frank Vöhringer, 2017. "Green Taxes in a Post-Paris World: Are Millions of Nays Inevitable?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(1), pages 97-128, September.
    3. Marco A. Marini & Ornella Tarola & Jacques-François Thisse, 2020. "Is Environmentalism the Right Strategy to Decarbonize the World?," Working Papers 2020.31, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Johnson Kakeu & Erik Paul Johnson, 2018. "Information Exchange and Transnational Environmental Problems," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 71(2), pages 583-604, October.
    5. Mireille Chiroleu‐Assouline & Thomas P. Lyon, 2020. "Merchants of doubt: Corporate political action when NGO credibility is uncertain," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 439-461, April.
    6. Sandra Rousseau & Nick Deschacht, 2020. "Public Awareness of Nature and the Environment During the COVID-19 Crisis," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 76(4), pages 1149-1159, August.
    7. Douenne, Thomas & Fabre, Adrien, 2020. "French attitudes on climate change, carbon taxation and other climate policies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).
    8. Spyros Arvanitis & Michael Peneder & Christian Rammer & Tobias Stucki & Martin Wörter, 2016. "Competitiveness and ecological impacts of green energy technologies: firm-level evidence for the DACH region," KOF Working papers 16-420, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    9. Graham Beattie & Yi Han & Andrea La Nauze, 2019. "Conservation Spillovers: The Effect of Rooftop Solar on Climate Change Beliefs," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 74(3), pages 1425-1451, November.
    10. Thomas Douenne & Adrien Fabre, 2019. "Can We Reconcile French People with the Carbon Tax? Disentangling Beliefs from Preferences," Working Papers 2019.10, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

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