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Environmental Policy in Majoritarian Systems

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Listed:
  • Per G. Fredriksson

    (University of Louisville)

  • Xenia Matschke

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Jenny Minier

    (University of Kentucky)

Abstract

This paper sheds new light on the determination of environmental policies in majoritarian federal electoral systems such as the U.S., and derives implications for the environmental federalism debate on whether the national or local government should have authority over environmental policies. In the absence of majority bias, the socially preferred policy would be federal district-level taxation which accounts both for cross-boundary pollution and differences in industry concentration across districts. In majoritarian systems, however, where the legislature consists of geographically distinct electoral districts, the majority party (at either the national or the state level) favors its own home districts; depending on the location of polluting industries and the associated pollution damages, the majority party may therefore impose sub-optimally high or low pollution taxes due to a majority bias. We show that majority bias can influence the social-welfare ranking of alternative government policies. In some cases, the existence of majority bias may actually make decentralized or federal uniform taxation the preferred solution.

Suggested Citation

  • Per G. Fredriksson & Xenia Matschke & Jenny Minier, 2008. "Environmental Policy in Majoritarian Systems," Working papers 2008-01, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2008-01
    Note: We thank Josh Ederington and the participants at a presentation at the 54th Annual North American Meetings of the Regional Science Association International in Savannah for helpful comments.
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    Cited by:

    1. Toke S. Aidt & Jayasri Dutta, 2017. "Fiscal Federalism and Electoral Accountability," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 19(1), pages 38-58, February.
    2. Alesina, Alberto & Passarelli, Francesco, 2014. "Regulation versus taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 147-156.
    3. Per G. Fredriksson & Xenia Matschke, 2016. "Trade Liberalization and Environmental Taxation in Federal Systems," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 118(1), pages 150-167, January.
    4. Divya Datt, 2016. "Inter-governmental political relations in a federation and illegal mining of natural resources," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 18(4), pages 557-576, October.
    5. Strand, Jon, 2013. "Political economy aspects of fuel subsidies : a conceptual framework," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6392, The World Bank.
    6. Friehe, Tim & Langlais, Eric, 2015. "On the political economy of public safety investments," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 7-16.
    7. Anabel Zárate-Marco & Jaime Vallés-Giménez, 2015. "Environmental tax and productivity in a decentralized context: new findings on the Porter hypothesis," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 313-339, October.
    8. Fredriksson, Per G. & Wollscheid, Jim R., 2014. "Environmental decentralization and political centralization," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 402-410.
    9. Sjöberg, Eric, 2016. "An empirical study of federal law versus local environmental enforcement," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 14-31.
    10. Athanasios Lapatinas & Anastasia Litina & Eftichios Sophocles Sartzetakis, 2014. "Is Abatement Effective in the Presence of Corruption? A Theoretical Exploration," CREA Discussion Paper Series 14-29, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Institutions; environmental policy; environmental federalism; geography; majority bias; political economy.;

    JEL classification:

    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • R50 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - General

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