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Strategic choice of stock pollution: Why conservatives (appear to) turn green

  • Voß, Achim

The public management of stock pollutants is an intertemporal problem; today's optimal choice takes the behavior of future governments into account. If a government expects a successor with different environmental preferences - for instance, if Conservatives expect green successors - it must choose strategically. I model this interaction in a two-period game in which the government of each period chooses consumption as a flow variable that adds to a stock of pollution. In this setting, I analyze how the prospect of losing political power changes the incumbent's policy choice. It is shown that both the prospect of a more conservative or of a greener successor reduce present consumption. This implies that losing power in the future makes a conservative government choose a compromise policy today - which may explain why in some countries, conservative governments seem to adopt green policies. By contrast, the expected loss of power makes a green government choose a policy that appears as a radicalization of their position.

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Paper provided by Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM), University of Münster in its series CAWM Discussion Papers with number 66.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:cawmdp:66
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  1. Dieter Helm & Cameron Hepburn & Richard Mash, 2003. "Credible Carbon Policy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 438-450.
  2. Fredriksson, Per G. & Wang, Le & Mamun, Khawaja A., 2011. "Are politicians office or policy motivated? The case of U.S. governors' environmental policies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 241-253, September.
  3. van der Ploeg, Frederick & Withagen, Cees, 2012. "Too much coal, too little oil," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 62-77.
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