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How do Competing Interest Groups Influence Environmental Policy? The Case of Renewable Electricity in Industrialized Democracies, 1989–2007

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Abstract

In this article, we examine the effect of competing interest groups on environmental policy. We argue that the supporters of environmental policy should be the most influential in the absence of opposition, while the opposition's importance is maximized when the supporter coalition is strong. This highlights an important asymmetry between competing interest groups: supporters are decisive in the absence of opposition, while the opposition is only relevant if the supporters are already strong. We test the argument against data on renewable electricity generation in nineteen OECD countries, 1989–2007. Heavy industries have particularly strong incentives to oppose policies that support renewables, because heavy industries’ profitability depends on inexpensive electricity. We find that the supporter coalition has a positive effect on the growth of renewable electricity generation, but the positive effect diminishes with the strength of manufacturing. Moreover, heavy industry has a negative effect on the growth of renewable electricity generation and this effect increases with the strength of the supporter coalition.

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... 11 The expected influence is not clear for authors. In an early study, Chang et al. (2009) observe a threshold effect regarding the pace of economic 10 Other determinants considered by few authors include: population characteristics (human capital, poverty, female or working-age population ratios) (Pfeiffer and Mulder, 2013;Romano et al., 2017;Zhao et al., 2013;Apergis and Eleftheriou, 2015;Ackah and Kizys, 2015;Zeb et al., 2014), official development assistance and clean development mechanism (Brunnschweiler, 2010;Pfeiffer and Mulder, 2013;Baldwin et al., 2017;Carley, 2009), physical potential of RE sources in general (Marques et al., 2010(Marques et al., , 2011Best, 2017;Bayulgen and Ladewig, 2017) or specific to some RE technologies (Aguirre and Ibikunle, 2014), political system related variables (Cadoret and Padovano, 2016;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013;Apergis and Eleftheriou, 2015), EU membership (Marques et al., 2010(Marques et al., , 2011Biresselioglu and Karaibrahimoglu, 2012;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013), knowledge accumulation related to RE patents (Popp et al., 2011;Geng and Ji, 2016;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013), capital accumulation or flow (Lin and Omoju, 2017;Ackah and Kizys, 2015), fossil fuel rents Carley et al., 2017;Lin and Omoju, 2017;Bayulgen and Ladewig, 2017), resources depletion (Ackah and Kizys, 2015;Zeb et al., 2014), energy or electricity mix concentration (Valdés Lucas et al., 2016;Pfeiffer and Mulder, 2013), power sector reforms (Brunnschweiler, 2010;Aguirre and Ibikunle, 2014), industrial or energy-intensive sector size (Cadoret and Padovano, 2016;Nyiwul, 2017;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013), previous commitment to RE (Marques et al., 2010;Marques and Fuinhas, 2012;Aguirre and Ibikunle, 2014;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013). 11 Only Aguirre and Ibikunle (2014) have both fossil fuel prices and electricity price in their model. ...
... 11 The expected influence is not clear for authors. In an early study, Chang et al. (2009) observe a threshold effect regarding the pace of economic 10 Other determinants considered by few authors include: population characteristics (human capital, poverty, female or working-age population ratios) (Pfeiffer and Mulder, 2013;Romano et al., 2017;Zhao et al., 2013;Apergis and Eleftheriou, 2015;Ackah and Kizys, 2015;Zeb et al., 2014), official development assistance and clean development mechanism (Brunnschweiler, 2010;Pfeiffer and Mulder, 2013;Baldwin et al., 2017;Carley, 2009), physical potential of RE sources in general (Marques et al., 2010(Marques et al., , 2011Best, 2017;Bayulgen and Ladewig, 2017) or specific to some RE technologies (Aguirre and Ibikunle, 2014), political system related variables (Cadoret and Padovano, 2016;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013;Apergis and Eleftheriou, 2015), EU membership (Marques et al., 2010(Marques et al., , 2011Biresselioglu and Karaibrahimoglu, 2012;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013), knowledge accumulation related to RE patents (Popp et al., 2011;Geng and Ji, 2016;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013), capital accumulation or flow (Lin and Omoju, 2017;Ackah and Kizys, 2015), fossil fuel rents Carley et al., 2017;Lin and Omoju, 2017;Bayulgen and Ladewig, 2017), resources depletion (Ackah and Kizys, 2015;Zeb et al., 2014), energy or electricity mix concentration (Valdés Lucas et al., 2016;Pfeiffer and Mulder, 2013), power sector reforms (Brunnschweiler, 2010;Aguirre and Ibikunle, 2014), industrial or energy-intensive sector size (Cadoret and Padovano, 2016;Nyiwul, 2017;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013), previous commitment to RE (Marques et al., 2010;Marques and Fuinhas, 2012;Aguirre and Ibikunle, 2014;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013). 11 Only Aguirre and Ibikunle (2014) have both fossil fuel prices and electricity price in their model. ...
... 11 The expected influence is not clear for authors. In an early study, Chang et al. (2009) observe a threshold effect regarding the pace of economic 10 Other determinants considered by few authors include: population characteristics (human capital, poverty, female or working-age population ratios) (Pfeiffer and Mulder, 2013;Romano et al., 2017;Zhao et al., 2013;Apergis and Eleftheriou, 2015;Ackah and Kizys, 2015;Zeb et al., 2014), official development assistance and clean development mechanism (Brunnschweiler, 2010;Pfeiffer and Mulder, 2013;Baldwin et al., 2017;Carley, 2009), physical potential of RE sources in general (Marques et al., 2010(Marques et al., , 2011Best, 2017;Bayulgen and Ladewig, 2017) or specific to some RE technologies (Aguirre and Ibikunle, 2014), political system related variables (Cadoret and Padovano, 2016;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013;Apergis and Eleftheriou, 2015), EU membership (Marques et al., 2010(Marques et al., , 2011Biresselioglu and Karaibrahimoglu, 2012;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013), knowledge accumulation related to RE patents (Popp et al., 2011;Geng and Ji, 2016;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013), capital accumulation or flow (Lin and Omoju, 2017;Ackah and Kizys, 2015), fossil fuel rents Carley et al., 2017;Lin and Omoju, 2017;Bayulgen and Ladewig, 2017), resources depletion (Ackah and Kizys, 2015;Zeb et al., 2014), energy or electricity mix concentration (Valdés Lucas et al., 2016;Pfeiffer and Mulder, 2013), power sector reforms (Brunnschweiler, 2010;Aguirre and Ibikunle, 2014), industrial or energy-intensive sector size (Cadoret and Padovano, 2016;Nyiwul, 2017;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013), previous commitment to RE (Marques et al., 2010;Marques and Fuinhas, 2012;Aguirre and Ibikunle, 2014;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013). 11 Only Aguirre and Ibikunle (2014) have both fossil fuel prices and electricity price in their model. ...
Article
A large share of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to the energy sector. Renewable energy (RE) appears to be a mean to decarbonize economies. To fight global warming, which might have substantial impacts on ecosystems and economies, it is essential to understand the empirical determinants of RE deployment for public policy guidance and to foster future research. This paper aims to review the growing, though limited, body of literature that has emerged in the late 2000's to study the quantitative determinants of RE development at a country level. Results show that there is little consensus on the influence of the economic, environmental, and energy-related determinants predominantly studied. The other main determinants considered are regulatory, political, and demographic. Results are often tempered by the fact that authors use diverse measures of RE deployment and have a variety of frameworks. This paper ends with several recommendations to improve the comparability of future papers to enhance their potential to make credible public policy recommendations. More specifically, the recommendations concern the choice of a RE deployment indicator, the determinants considered for further exploration, and the methodologies adopted.
... It is not easy to find reliable data on interest group activity across countries (and over time), let alone such data on specific types of issues such as climate change. Rather, what we find in the current literature is mostly case studies (largely focused on the US or the EU) and a set of comparative studies that rely on economic sector proxies to assess the power of interest groups, typically across a set of OECD countries (Cadoret & Padovano, 2016;Cheon & Urpelainen, 2013). These studies are valuable as they suggest that lobbying may be systematically related to the adoption of climate policies. ...
... At this point there is little cross-national evidence of lobbying effects in climate policy production. For example, Cheon and Urpelainen (2013) link competing lobbies from the renewable energy industry and the fossil fuel and energy-intensive industries to the pace and scope of renewable energy deployment in OECD countries. Similarly, Cadoret and Padovano (2016) find that a strong manufacturing sector is negatively associated with renewable energy consumption in the EU. ...
... The estimated effect becomes negative as the supporter camp increases. This may indicate that a strong supporter alliance threatening the status quo is required to unleash lobbying effects by the opponents (see Cheon & Urpelainen, 2013). However, we find a significant negative effect only in response to a very large supporter alliance of more than 26 groups, which is the case in less than 1 percent of our observations. ...
Article
Climate politics and governance across the globe involve an increasing number of interest groups such as from business and civil society. Against this backdrop, it matters a great deal whether interest group mobilization is able to influence climate policy-making. First, there is an increasing number of climate policy supporters like nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and green businesses lobbying in favour of additional climate policies. Second, there is also strong mobilization of groups from energy-intensive and fossil fuel industries lobbying against potentially costly climate policies. In this paper, we investigate the potential effects of these mobilization patterns. More precisely, we ask whether there is any systematic effect of competing interest group mobilization on national climate policy production. To this end, we harness arguments from literatures on interest group mobilization and climate policy-making. Empirically, we exploit a comprehensive global dataset on the adoption of national climate laws and interest group mobilization (over 4,000 organizations) between 1997 and 2016. The results show that the increasing mobilization of climate policy supporters is positively related to national climate policy production. Climate policy opponents are able to weaken this effect, but are hardly able to block new climate laws. The results add to our understanding of climate politics focusing on the role of business organizations and NGOs. This is highly policy relevant for both analysts and practitioners given that the Paris Agreement relies heavily on national policy efforts.Key policy insights The growing mobilization of climate policy supporters is positively related to the adoption of additional climate laws.The positive effect of climate policy supporters is weakened but rarely blocked by climate policy opponents, such as those from the fossil fuel industry.The effect of lobbying over climate policy needs to be assessed in its competitive context, that is by considering how political support and opposition on climate policy interact.
... One vein of existing research examines the balance of power between "green" (low-carbon) and "brown" (carbon-intensive) organized groups in shaping coalitions of climate policy proponents and opponents (Cheon and Urpelainen 2013;Hughes and Urpelainen 2015;Meckling 2011;Ward and Cao 2012;Harrison 2015). A closely related literature uses a dynamic framework to analyze how politicians strategically shape clean versus dirty coalitions, and the effect it has on climate politics over time via processes of positive feedback and path dependency (Aklin and Urpelainen 2013;Breetz, Mildenberger, and Stokes 2018;Meckling et al. 2015;Kelsey 2018). ...
... Hence, to adopt long-term climate policy investments, governments require the capacity to overcome opposition from cost-bearing organized groups (Jacobs 2011). Indeed, as mentioned above, a key obstacle to climate policy that is hypothesized in the literature is the ability of business, especially carbon-intensive industries, to block policy change (Cheon and Urpelainen 2013;Hughes and Urpelainen 2015;Mildenberger 2020). ...
... "brown" (carbon-intensive) organized groups as a key driver of climate policy (Aklin and Urpelainen 2013;Cheon and Urpelainen 2013;Hughes and Urpelainen 2015;Ward and Cao 2012 ...
Thesis
Long-term policy challenges – biodiversity loss, education and skills, infrastructure, and public debt – are everywhere, yet scholars are just beginning to examine their distinct political economy. In the context of these types of issues, politics is not only about who gets what, but who gets what and when. Climate change is the quintessential long-term policy problem. Why have some advanced capitalist democracies been more successful than others at addressing long-term problems like climate change? Surprisingly, political science has provided few answers to this substantively important question. This thesis tackles this question by focusing on the distributional politics of climate policy investment. It provides new arguments for how institutions and electoral incentives generate opportunities for governments to arrive at successful distributive bargains that impose short-term costs on social actors today for benefits that arrive in the future. Across countries, I show how electoral rules and interest group intermediation systematically structure the conditions needed for politicians to make long-term climate policy investments. Indeed, the complementarity between these institutions generate varieties of decarbonization, which push countries onto diverging policy trajectories. Building on these arguments, I look within countries over time and provide the first theoretical arguments and empirical evidence that links electoral competition to fossil fuel taxation. By influencing political risk, competition structures political incentives for imposing short-term costs on voters today for long-term benefits. It is only governments with a comfortable lead over rivals that can think past the next election to society’s long-run aggregate welfare. I find support for my arguments using new cross-national data on shadow carbon prices, original datasets of historical gasoline taxation across high-income democracies and US states, and a case study of fossil fuel tax policy decisions by the German Social Democratic-Green coalition government. Beyond shedding light on the politics of long-term policymaking in the case of climate change, the thesis points to crucial mechanisms that plausibly account for the differential ability of governments to tackle a wider range of long-term challenges.
... Firm positions on climate policy have been traced to internal social factors like characteristics of the workforce and corporate structure. 5 Social forces outside of the firm are also important, such as public campaigns from environmental groups (Cheon and Urpelainen 2013;Markussen and Svendsen 2005). A second class of determinants relates to the political and institutional context in which a firm operates. ...
... SeeGoel (2004),Markussen and Svendsen (2005),Cho, Patten, and Roberts (2006),Martin and Rice (2010), andKim, Urpelainen, and Yang (2016).9 SeeCheon and Urpelainen (2013),Kelsey (2018), and Kennard (forthcoming). 10 SeeBechtel, Genovese, and Scheve (2017),Kono (2020), andBayer and Genovese (2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Which firms oppose action to fight climate change? Networks of input sourcing and sales to downstream customers ought to propagate and reinforce opposition to decarbonization beyond direct emitters of CO2. To test this claim, we build the largest data set of public political activity for and against climate action in the United States, revealing that the majority of corporate opposition to climate action comes from outside the highest‐emitting industries. We construct new measures of the carbon intensity of firms and show that policy exposure via carbon‐intensive inputs and sales to downstream emitters explains this large volume of opposition from non‐emitting industries. Sixty‐six percent of U.S. lobbying on climate policy has been conducted by an extended coalition of firms, associations, and other groups that have publicly opposed reducing carbon emissions. Public opposition to climate action by carbon‐connected industries is therefore broad‐based, highly organized, and matched with extensive lobbying.
... Additionally, Lipscy (2018) explains how electoral rules shape energy policy reform across countries by structuring the extent to which politicians can impose costs on consumers and redistribute revenues to particularistic interests. Scholars have also examined how policy outcomes are shaped by national policy styles (Andersen, 2019), the balance of political power between "green" (low carbon) and "brown" (carbon-intensive) sectors (Aklin & Urpelainen, 2013;Cheon & Urpelainen, 2013;Hughes & Urpelainen, 2015), veto points (Madden, 2014), and countries' locations in international carbon supply chains (Harrison, 2015). This paper offers an institutional account for why countries vary when it comes to addressing climate change. ...
... Indeed, one key obstacle to climate policy is the ability of organized opponents, especially emissions-intensive industries such oil, gas, and coal-fired utilities, to block policy change (Hughes & Urpelainen, 2015;Mildenberger, 2020). To be sure, a number of factors should influence the ability of governments to overcome opposition from these groups, such as institutional veto points, the centralization of policymaking, business preferences, and the proportion of high-to low-carbon sectors (Aklin & Urpelainen, 2013;Cheon & Urpelainen, 2013;Downie, 2017;Jacobs, 2011;Meckling, 2015). Here I explore another: institutions that structure interactions between cost-bearing groups and the government. ...
Article
Many policy problems require taking costly action today for future benefits. Examining the case of climate change, this paper examines how two institutions—electoral rules and interest group intermediation—structure the distributional politics of climate change and as a result, drive variation in climate “policy investments” across the high-income democracies. Proportional electoral rules increase electoral safety, allowing politicians to impose short-term costs on voters. Concertation between industry and the state enables governments to compensate losers, defusing organized opposition to policy change. Moreover, the joint presence of both institutions generates complementarities that reinforce their independent effects, pushing countries onto different climate politics trajectories. Newly available data on climate policy stringency provide empirical support for the arguments. Countries with PR and interest group concertation have the highest levels of policy stringency and distribute higher costs toward consumers. The analysis points to causal mechanisms that should structure policy responses to a more general set of long-term challenges.
... A growing literature deals with how interests, ideas, and institutionsin both elite and mass politicsare driving public policy targeted at technological change in the energy sector (Drews and van den Bergh 2016;Van de Graaf, Haesebrouck, and Debaere 2018;Green 2015;Kern 2011). For instance, energy politics scholars examine themes such as the balance of power between various organized groups (Cheon and Urpelainen 2013;Cory, Lerner, and Osgood 2020;Hughes and Urpelainen 2015;Meckling 2011;Mildenberger 2020;Rennkamp et al. 2017;Stokes 2020), the role of political parties , electoral politics and public opinion (Ingold, Stadelmann-Steffen, and Kammermann 2019;, formal and informal institutions (Meckling and Nahm 2018;Wood et al. 2020), or path dependency (Lockwood et al. 2017a;. What these studies have in common is that they highlight the relevance of political factors as drivers of energy and climate policy. ...
... Literature on these themes is small but burgeoning. It ranges from analyses of the balance of power between various organized groups (Cheon and Urpelainen 2013;Hughes and Urpelainen 2015;Meckling 2011;Rennkamp et al. 2017), to the role of political parties , electoral politics , formal or informal institutions (Meckling and Nahm 2018;Wood et al. 2020), or state-business relations (Hochstetler and Kostka 2015). Scholars are also examining "experimental" governance by subnational and private actors on various levels of governance (Abbott 2012; Bernstein and Hoffmann 2018;Dorsch and Flachsland 2017;Green 2013;Hale 2016). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Technological change, i.e. the invention, innovation and diffusion of new technologies, is a key driver of economic development and societal progress. There is widespread agreement that, historically, energy technologies have been at the core of most technological revolutions. Yet, the transition to and diffusion of fossil fuel-based energy technologies has come at high societal and ecological costs, most notably climate change. A fast and deep transition to low carbon technologies – particularly renewable energy and efficiency technologies – is the main lever to address climate change. While deployment of these technologies has grown significantly over the last decades – largely policy-induced – this transition needs to be further accelerated and deepened through public policies. In light of various trade-offs and competing policy goals, implementing and designing these policies is an intrinsically political endeavor. A growing body of literature at the intersection of public policy, political science, and innovation studies covers these aspects of energy politics. Yet, energy politics not only influence technological change through public policy – technological change can also, in turn, influence politics. A better understanding of this inverse effect of technological change on politics is necessary to formulate politically feasible and effective energy policy. While a nascent body of literature deals with these aspects in the context of the transition to renewable energy and efficiency technologies, how exactly such low-carbon technological change affects what aspects of politics still remains a black box. In an exploratory approach, this dissertation attempts to address this research gap with the following overarching question: How does low-carbon technological change affect energy politics? To answer this question, this cumulative dissertation is built on a heuristic framework: On an abstract level, it argues that technological change can affect politics through both its expanding and (re)distributional capacity. It further proposes that politics can be disaggregated into the categories of interests, ideas, and institutions, on the level of both elite and mass politics. The individual papers in this dissertation cover various elements of this heuristic framework and leverage a plurality of qualitative and quantitative methods, and individual case studies. Focusing on how technological change affects the interests and ideas of elite politics, Paper 1 examines how the transition to renewable energy technologies influenced the composition and strength of advocacy coalitions in the German energy sector. The main contribution of this paper is to substantiate the mechanisms through which policy-induced technological change affects coalitions, and to link these mechanisms to patterns of actor movements underlying coalition change. Paper 2 also focuses on aspects of ideas in elite politics and touches upon institutions as moderating factor. It examines how technological change drives regulators’ perceived feasibility of more stringent public and private regulation of energy efficiency technologies in the Swiss building sector. The contribution of this paper is to highlight that the interaction among public and private regulation can run through the mechanism of technological change. Also focusing on ideas and institutions in elite politics, paper 3 examines how technological change affects the positions of political parties on energy technologies in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. The paper shows that technological change is a driver of party positions and their salience, and that this effect is mediated by party and party system characteristics. Finally, paper 4 examines interests in mass politics by focusing on how the decline in coal mining affects voting behavior in presidential elections in the United States. The paper shows that also decline in technologies can result in political effects, in this case resistance in form of voting in favor of pro-coal candidates. Based on a mixed methods approach and systematic data collection, these four papers give novel empirical insights into how technological change affects interests, ideas, and institutions in elite and mass energy politics. Based on these insights, the papers engage in theory-building. Notably, the dissertation provides a framework in which energy politics is described as a dynamic feedback loop of public policy, technological change, and politics. Further, the dissertation substantiates various mechanisms that link technological change to politics, and analyzes the effects of technological change on a variety of relevant political actors. Doing so, it contributes to current academic debates in public policy, political science, and innovation studies on energy politics. Further, this dissertation also has policy implications: Policymakers’ focus should be on the expanding and (re)distributional effects of technological change on energy and climate politics. More sensibility to the locus and nature of these political struggles could enable effective forward-looking policy strategies that sow the seeds today for broader political support tomorrow. Finally, future research should aim at testing the theory built in this dissertation with more quantitative research methods. Future research should also build on this exploratory dissertation by expanding the empirical scope to other low-carbon technologies, and expand the policy feedback logic to other policy outcomes such as nature-based solutions and behavioral change.
... That proponents and opponents of a policy each form a coalition supportive of their respective views is a feature of what Dahl (1961) and Truman (1951) identify as a pluralist understanding of how the political process works. For example, Cheon and Urpelainen (2013) use renewable electricity generation to demonstrate the importance of the countervailing effects on environmental policy created by competing interest groups. Yet, while legislators are consistent actors in Congressional deliberations, competing interest groups and their countervailing effects (Cheon and Urpelainen 2013) have not always been ubiquitous in all Congressional arenas. ...
... For example, Cheon and Urpelainen (2013) use renewable electricity generation to demonstrate the importance of the countervailing effects on environmental policy created by competing interest groups. Yet, while legislators are consistent actors in Congressional deliberations, competing interest groups and their countervailing effects (Cheon and Urpelainen 2013) have not always been ubiquitous in all Congressional arenas. For example, when the dams on the main stem of the Missouri River were proposed in the 1944 Flood Control Act, there was far less organized support and opposition than emerged subsequently about the Garrison Diversion (United States 1944a;United States 1944b;United States 1975;United States 1998). ...
Article
We examine the discursive influence of competing interest groups and how and when U.S. federal legislators use empirical evidence to consider Missouri River diversion projects originating in the relief, recovery, and reform thinking behind President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Twelve U.S. Congressional committee hearings that occurred between 1944 and 2006 are content analyzed to demonstrate the nature of instrumental arguments in legislative deliberations. Members of Congress in favor of diversion projects used more economic-based, instrumental arguments than interest group representatives sharing their views while members of Congress opposed to the diversion projects consistently used less science-based, instrumental arguments than did interest group representatives sharing their stance. As a percentage, more instrumental arguments were made in field hearings than in Washington, D.C. hearings. While more economic-based, instrumental arguments were made in Senate-related hearings than in House of Representatives related hearings, in the House more science-based, instrumental arguments were made than in the Senate.
... This theory mediates between two opposing arguments about what drives environmental politics. Some scholars have argued that environmental policy is driven by interest group politics (Anderson, 2011;Cheon & Urpelainen, 2013;Layzer, 2012), while others have argued that legislators use environmental policy to garner more votes (Fredriksson, Wang, & Mamun, 2011;List & Sturm, 2006;Shipan & Lowry, 2001). Our theory stipulates the conditions required for each argument to take hold. ...
... One school of thought sees environmental policy as the domain of interest group politics. Because few voters choose candidates based on environmental policy, the argument goes, environmental policy is heavily influenced by special interest politics, such as campaign contributions and lobbying (Anderson, 2011;Cheon & Urpelainen, 2013;Layzer, 2012). According to this view, legislators' voting behavior should not be strongly influenced by elections. ...
Article
en Do elections affect legislators' voting patterns? We investigate this question in the context of environmental policy in the U.S. Congress. We theorize that since the general public is generally in favor of legislation protecting the environment, legislators have an incentive to favor the public over industry and vote for pro‐environment legislation at election time. The argument is supported by analyses of data on environmental roll call votes for the U.S. Congress from 1970 to 2013 where we estimate the likelihood of casting a pro‐environment vote as a function of the time to an election. While Democrats are generally more likely to cast a pro‐environment vote before an election, this effect is much stronger for Republicans when the legislator won the previous election by a thinner margin. The election effect is maximized for candidates receiving substantial campaign contributions from the (anti‐environment) oil and gas industry. Analysis of Twitter data confirms that Congressmembers make pro‐environmental statements and highlight their roll call voting behavior during the election season. These results show that legislators do strategically adjust their voting behavior to favor the public immediate prior to an election. Abstract zh 选举与政策响应度:来自美国国会环境投票的证据 选举会影响立法者的投票模式吗?我们以美国国会的环境政策为背景,对该疑问进行研究。我们的理论认为,既然公众整体上支持亲环境的法律,那么立法者就会被激励去支持公众而不是产业,并在选举期间为亲环境法投票。该主张基于1970年至2013年期间美国国会环境点名投票的数据分析,我们在分析中预测了在一次选举中为亲环境法投票的可能性的时间函数。尽管民主党一般更有可能在选举前为亲环境法投票,但该效果对共和党的作用更强,当立法者以微弱优势赢得之前的选举时。对那些从(反环境的)石油天然气产业中获得大量竞选资助的候选人而言,该选举效果发挥的作用达到最大化。推特数据分析证明,国会成员在选举期间作出亲环境的论断并强调其点名投票行为。研究结果表明,立法者确实会从战略上调整其投票行为,以期在选举前迎合大众。 Abstract es Elecciones y capacidad de respuesta política: evidencia de la votación ambiental en el Congreso de los EE. UU ¿Las elecciones afectan los patrones de votación de los legisladores? Investigamos esta cuestión en el contexto de la política ambiental en el Congreso de los Estados Unidos. Teorizamos que, dado que el público en general está a favor de la legislación que protege el medio ambiente, los legisladores tienen un incentivo para favorecer al público sobre la industria y votar por la legislación favorable al medio ambiente en las elecciones. El argumento está respaldado por análisis de datos sobre votaciones nominales ambientales para el Congreso de EE. UU. Desde 1970 hasta 2013, donde estimamos la probabilidad de emitir un pro ambiente en función del tiempo para una elección. Si bien los demócratas generalmente tienen más probabilidades de emitir un voto favorable al medio ambiente antes de una elección, este efecto es mucho más fuerte para los republicanos cuando el legislador ganó las elecciones anteriores por un margen más delgado. El efecto electoral se maximiza para los candidatos que reciben contribuciones sustanciales de campaña de la industria del petróleo y el gas (anti medioambiente). El análisis de los datos de Twitter confirma que los miembros del Congreso hacen declaraciones a favor del medio ambiente y destacan su comportamiento de votación nominal durante la temporada electoral. Estos resultados muestran que los legisladores ajustan estratégicamente su comportamiento de votación para favorecer al público inmediatamente antes de una elección.
... When connecting problem-framing processes with a policy network, one must be aware that this policy network develops around existing institutional arrangements that bind individuals and organizations together. This institutional arrangement is often self-sustaining and may create constrains for subsequent development and change (David 1994, Cheon and Urpelainen 2013, Schoon 2013. Various theories of institutional continuity and change have been well discussed in political science and other disciplines; they all seek to explain the underlying political mechanisms that sustain, reinforce, or reproduce institutions' status quo (Pierson 2004, Thelen 2004, Mahoney and Thelen 2009). ...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental problems are usually framed by a repertoire of arguments articulated by a network of individuals (scientists and policymakers) and their affiliated institutions. Given the complexity of this network, it is important to conduct network analyses on both individual and organizational levels to achieve a better understanding of the underlying political structure that influences science-policy communication. Through an empirical study of a policy network related to grassland management in China, our study examines the underlying political structure of the network as well as its political impact on the problem-framing processes. The analysis reveals that political polarization and power imbalances in the network, the product of existing institutional arrangements, have confined the framing of environmental problems to specific areas and impeded the development of comprehensive policies.
... Non-policy related decarbonization drivers such as industry lobbying (e.g., manufacturing), quality of governance, political ideology, political support and leadership type have been suggested to also play a critical role in the pace of decarbonization [21,22]. Some literature also emphasize geographical perspectives on transitions, and put forth the notions of context, space and place of nations as the necessary foreground to the impact that changes in socio-technical systems have on decarbonization [23]. ...
Article
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The need for transitioning towards low-carbon energy systems, and the recent boom in available data, allows for a constant re-evaluation of global electricity sector decarbonization progress, and its underlying theoretical assumptions. Arguably, the existing decarbonization literature and institutional support frameworks focus on top-down supply side mechanisms, where policies, goals, access to financing, and technology innovation are suggested as the main drivers. Here, we synthesize eleven global datasets that range from electricity dec-arbonization progress, to quality of governance, to international fossil fuel subsidies, and environmental policies, amongst several others, and use methods from data mining to explore the factors that may be fostering or hindering decarbonization progress. This exercise allows us to present numerous hypotheses worth exploring in future research. Some of these hypotheses suggest that policies might be ineffective when misaligned with country specific motivators and inherent characteristics, that even in the absence of policy there are particular inherent characteristics that foster decarbonization progress (e.g., relatively high local energy prices, foreign energy import dependency and the absence of a large extractive resource base), and that the interaction of country-specific enabling environments, inherent characteristics, and motivations is what determines dec-arbonization progress, rather than stand-alone support mechanisms. We present the hypothesis that existing support mechanisms for decarbonization may be relying too much on blanket strategies (e.g., policies, targets), and that there is a need for support mechanisms that encompass a wider diversity of country-specific underlying conditions.
... Our data show, however, that different trade-policy preferences split the coalition of firms in support of the growth of the solar photovoltaics industry. Prior studies show that competitive lobbying affects renewable energy policy outcomes (Cheon and Urpelainen 2013). Our study suggests that such competition may weaken the influence of coalitions that underpin public policy used to spur the growth of green industries. ...
Article
Global production is increasingly organized through supply chains made up of firms that specialize in specific stages of production. This raises an important question: how does firms' participation in global supply chains affect their trade preferences? Research shows that multinational corporations (MNCs) tend to prefer open trade, while domestic importcompeting firms favor trade protection. We argue that the globalization of production also leads vertically specialized firms-those specializing in specific stages of the production process-to support open trade. Using firm-level data from the solar photovoltaics industry, we show that vertically specialized firms prefer open trade if they have ties to global supply chains. We present evidence that three sets of vertically specialized firms tend to favor open trade: upstream suppliers of inputs to a global supply chain, global manufacturers that import inputs, and downstream users of final products. Our findings suggest that the rise of global value chains shifts the politics of globalization: it expands firm coalitions in favor of open trade. Our findings also matter for an important public-policy concern: climate change. Governments face crosscutting demands from solar firms over trade policy, dividing the growth coalition supporting clean energy technologies. © The Author (2017). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association. All rights reserved.
... In addition, according to interest group theory, influential interest groups for fossil fuel industries are likely to mobilize their resources to influence keeping (or increasing) the fossil fuel portion of the total energy mix. 34 Thus, one can expect that the percent of fossil fuel use is negatively associated with the renewable energy capacity. ...
Article
While the renewable energy sector, in general, is increasingly gaining ground with regard to energy mix, the electricity generation capacity from renewable energy sources varies from country to country. This study aims to examine the driving factors and the obstacles that explain the variation in the renewable energy generation capacities. A panel data analysis of the World’s leading economies (18 countries out of G-20 countries) from 2009 to 2013 assesses the association between installed renewable energy generation capacity and its drivers. The findings of this study suggest that financial investment from public and private sector is crucial to enhancing renewable energy generation capacity in leading economies. In addition to regulation and economic incentive policies, policies that ensure financial investment such as investment risk reduction measures can facilitate renewable energy capacity growth.
... The position of an actor within a network (of all the relevant stakeholders) constrains how monetary and other resources can effectively be converted to influence. Some studies provide empirical evidence for well-connec ed akeholder disproportionate influence on political outcomes regardless of its own size(Baumgartner, Larsen-Price, Leech, & Rutledge, 2011;Box-Steffensmeier, Christenson, & Hitt, 2013).Several studie ha e fo nd in ere gro p infl ence on energ policie ignifican hen taking into account other predictors such as international influences and macroeconomic factors(Cheon & Urpelainen, 2013;Matisoff & Edwards, 2014;Schaffer & Bernauer, 2014). ...
Conference Paper
A timely transition to low-carbon socio-technical systems such as energy and transport is crucial in combating climate change and reducing the environmental and health impacts of human activities. While innovation policies have gained wide acclaim for driving technological change, the importance of destabilization policies for disrupting incumbent technologies such as fossil fuel-based electricity or mobility systems have been largely overlooked. Although destabilization measures such as phase-out policies can be highly effective, their enactment is challenging, as it is contingent upon the politics and power relations among the actors. Destabilization policies can be viewed as an act of disrupting institutions which is likely to be contested by incumbents who have stake in defending the existing institutional configurations. Therefore, it is crucial to unravel the interests and agency of key actors to understand why institutional changes for destabilizing socio-technical regimes can be realized in some cases but not in others. In this study, we present a conceptual framework that conceives actors' capability of changing institutional structures to be dependent on their varying practices and resource endowments. This framework enables systematic empirical analyses to understand how agency account for the change of institutions such as the adoption of destabilization policies. By offering testable propositions we strive to contribute to the theory-building in micro-foundations of institutions.
... National energy policy is affected by the domestic, regional and international polities in which it is embedded (Dubash and Florini, 2011). 2 Empirical studies show that government's unity positively correlates with investments in energy innovations (Cirone and Urpelainen, 2013) and that the ideology of the executive branch (Cadoret and Padovano, 2016;Chang and Berdiev, 2011) as well as influential interest groups (Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013;Tosun and Schulze, 2015) matter for the trajectory of energy policies. Corresponding evidence points also beyond the domestic level as members of the EU are found to promote the development of the renewable energy sector (Schaffer and Bernauer, 2014). ...
Article
While supply disruptions of oil imports are widely considered a serious threat to a country's energy and overall national security, systematic investigations into the effects of security concerns on investments in energy technology are rare. Complementing existing energy policy literature, this paper investigates the impact of conflict involvement of major oil suppliers on RD&D expenditures in biofuels among import-dependent economies, i.e. geopolitically induced investments. Utilizing the recently released data set on Integrated Crisis Early Warning System (ICEWS), our sample comprises information on 12 EU member states from 1997 to 2014. Among those we find that RD&D expenditures in biofuels are positively associated with the conflict involvement of the respective country's major oil supplier. The results are robust across different model specifications and measurements of conflict. We argue that joining arguments from political economy and conflict research can help to explain the heterogeneous pattern of investments in energy technology in resource-poor European countries. In addition, it increases our understanding of innovation activities within the energy sector.
... Because the number of countries is larger than the number of years, we also estimate models using pooled OLS regression with Driscoll-Kraay standard errors (DK) to correct for cross-sectional dependence [32,33]. This method has also been commonly employed in cross-national panel studies [123,124,132]. ...
Article
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Globalization significantly influences climate change. Ecological modernization theory and world polity theory suggest that globalization reduces carbon dioxide emissions worldwide by facilitating economic, political, social, and cultural homogenization, whereas ecological unequal exchange theory indicates that cumulative economic and political disparities lead to an uneven distribution of emissions in developed and less developed countries. This study addresses this controversy and systematically investigates the extent to which different dimensions of globalization influence carbon emissions in developed and less developed countries by treating globalization as a dynamic historical process involving economic, political, and social/cultural dimensions in a long-term, cross-national context. Drawing on data for 137 countries from 1970 to 2014, we find that while globalization, social and cultural globalization in particular, has enabled developed countries to significantly decrease their carbon emissions, it has led to more emissions in less developed countries, lending support to the ecological unequal exchange theory. Consistent with world polity theory, international political integration has contributed to carbon reductions over time. We highlight the internal tension between environmental conservation and degradation in a globalizing world and discuss the opportunities for less developed countries to reduce emissions.
... Conversely, ministries with names that only include "energy" or co-mention "energy" with "economy" can be expected to be less likely to prioritize low-carbon energy production. Instead, they appear to be more supportive of policies that strive to enhance the security of energy supply and/or low energy prices (see Cheon and Urpelainen 2013). These are the broad expectations guiding the subsequent empirical analyses. ...
Article
This commentary contends that ministry names offer a valuable construct for furthering the state of comparative policy analysis. Using energy governance as an example, this study shows that ministries' names are stable in some countries but subject to changes in others. Furthermore, there is variation in the ministries' names over time. Creating or maintaining a ministry that explicitly mentions "energy" is interpreted as signaling enhanced political attention to this issue, whereas removing the referral to "energy" signals the opposite. The names of ministries responsible for energy matters also affect energy policy outputs. Drawing on 43 OECD and BRICS countries, the empirical analysis shows that countries which have ministries in place that mention "energy" together with "economy" in their names are swifter in adopting renewable energy targets. Ministries that mention "economy" along with "climate" and/or "environment" also have an inclination to be faster in adopting such targets, but the coefficients fail to reach conventional levels of statistical significance. Given this finding, it appears worth pursuing this line of research further.
... Interest groups may target a policy issue and advocate a specific set of measures, thus creating an incentive for policy implementers to act (see Binder and Neumayer, 2005;Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013;Henstra, 2010;Kingdon, 2014;Spendzharova and Versluis, 2013;Thomson et al., 2012;Warntjen, 2012). Several EU compliance studies looking at the national level of EU policy implementation have shown that groups whose members profit from a particular EU policy will try to influence policy implementation by means of, for instance, lobbying or public shaming (see Treib, 2014 for an overview). ...
Article
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As far as local governments are responsible for the practical implementation of many European Union (EU) policies, they codetermine member states’ EU compliance records and the fate of EU legislation. Yet, they do so in remarkably different ways, as exemplified by the variegated implementation of the Ambient Air Quality Directive 2008/50/EC by Dutch municipalities. Taking guidance from the literature on EU compliance, in this article we explain the differences in local implementation performance based on the political and managerial approaches. Understanding which of the two approaches drives different local responses to EU policy bears consequences for the appropriate remedy for nonimplementation. Four municipalities were purposefully selected along with the two-by-two implementation performance scoring matrix in the realm of air quality. A comparative within-case analysis specifies how political explanations outweigh managerial explanations in accounting for variation in implementation performance and distils ‘policy saliency’ as the driving causal mechanism.
... Finally, the politics dimension contains procedural elements with the potential to directly affect the investment decisions of utilities. Particular existing power relations can affect utilities' expectations regarding future energy policy (Cheon and Urpelainen 2013). In addition, they also express political climates and societal support of RE and the energy transition which may, by means of risk-and-return calculations, influence the investment strategies of utilities. ...
Article
en Investment decisions by power utilities significantly shape sustainable energy systems. While it is known that different political factors influence investment decisions, the interaction of these factors remains unclear. Using a fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis of 22 cases in 19 Swiss cantons, this study analyses which combinations of political conditions promote investment decisions by utilities in renewable energies. The analysis reveals the significance of different combinations of political conditions. High investments in renewable energies can be explained above all by political settings in which high administrative capacity is linked to ambitious policy goals, to the considerable power of a parliamentary pro‐ecology coalition or to non‐privatized utilities. The results support other findings on the importance of complex governance settings with hierarchical elements. They raise further questions about the precise mechanisms that mediate between political conditions and investment decisions of energy utilities, and the role of public administrations in this respect. 何种政治设置会就能源和公共事业推动可再生能源投资? zh 能源公共事业的投资决策会显著影响可持续能源系统。众所周知, 不同政治因素会影响投资决策, 但尚不清楚这些政治因素间的相互影响。通过对瑞士 19 个行政区的 22 项案例进行模糊集定性比较分析, 本文分析了政治情况的哪些组合能推动对可再生能源公共事业的投资决策。分析揭示了不同政治情况组合的显著性。尤其是可再生能源方面的高投资能通过政治设置予以解释。在这种政治设置中, 以公有化为主体的行政能力与宏伟的政策目标、议会支持生态联盟的显著权力或与非私有化的公共事业都有联系。分析结果对有关复杂治理设置 (具备阶级性质) 的重要性的其他研究发现给予了支持。分析结果进一步就精准机制提出了疑问,该机制负责在政治情况和能源公共事业投资决策,以及公共行政对此产生的作用之间进行协调。 ¿Qué entornos políticos promueven inversiones en energía renovable por parte de los servicios públicos de energía? es Las decisiones de inversión de las empresas de energía dan forma a los sistemas de energía sostenible. Si bien se sabe que diferentes factores políticos influyen en las decisiones de inversión, la interacción de estos factores sigue sin estar clara. Utilizando un análisis comparativo cualitativo de conjuntos difusos de 22 casos en 19 cantones suizos, este estudio analiza qué combinaciones de condiciones políticas promueven las decisiones de inversión de las empresas de servicios públicos en energías renovables. El análisis revela la importancia de diferentes combinaciones de condiciones políticas. Las altas inversiones en energías renovables pueden explicarse sobre todo por entornos políticos en los que una alta capacidad administrativa está vinculada a objetivos políticos ambiciosos, al considerable poder de una coalición parlamentaria pro‐ecología o a empresas de servicios públicos no privatizadas. Los resultados apoyan otros hallazgos acerca de la importancia de entornos políticos complejos con elementos jerárquicos. Plantean más preguntas sobre los mecanismos precisos que median entre las condiciones políticas y las decisiones de inversión de las empresas de energía, y el papel de las administraciones públicas frente a este tema.
... Large utilities also failed to understand the competitive threat that renewables could represent (Kungl 2015). Regardless, the key link here, as with the oil and gas sectors, is in the distributive implications of the policy for company assets, and how this affects the policy preferences of the companies towards climate-related energy policies (Cheon and Urpelainen 2013). By extension, compensating companies with carbon-intensive power generation may be a strategy proposed for weakening business opposition to more stringent climate policies (Jotzo and Mazouz 2015). ...
Preprint
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Social science has a crucial role to play in informing policymakers about political and institutional strategies conducive to implementing more ambitious energy-related climate change policies. In this chapter I review major avenues of research in political science and related disciplines that examine the politics of energy and climate change. I focus on how individuals, civil society, business, and governments, affect climate-related energy policies. In the second section of the chapter I suggest three issues with the potential to promote more rapid decarbonization of energy systems, but which have not been a sustained focus of research to date: 1) the politics of low-carbon economic development; 2) innovation and the deployment of new technologies; 3) the politics of negative emissions and geoengineering technologies.
... Importantly, this result does not require us to specify in our theoretical model why there is asymmetry in lobbying effectiveness, only that such asymmetry is consistent with the statistical relationships shown in Fig. 3. Nonetheless, it is interesting to ask why gaining and losing firms differ in their lobbying effectiveness. Previous work examining how lobbying differs between gaining and losing firms for energy 26,36 and other climate policies 15,37,38 attributes asymmetries to the differential ability of each group to collectively organize 39 , gather information on policy consequences 40 and lobby other related issues 38 . While all these explanations are consistent with our calibrated modelling results, current data limitations prevent us from examining which one is most relevant for the WaxmanMarkey bill. ...
Article
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Domestic political processes shape climate policy. In particular, there is increasing concern about the role of political lobbying over climate policy. This paper examines how lobbying spending on the Waxman–Markey bill, the most prominent and promising United States climate regulation so far, altered its likelihood of being implemented. We combine data from comprehensive United States lobbying records with an empirical method for forecasting the policy’s effect on the value of publicly listed firms. Our statistical analysis suggests that lobbying by firms expecting losses from the policy was more effective than lobbying by firms expecting gains. Interpreting this finding through a game-theoretic model, we calculate that lobbying lowered the probability of enacting the Waxman–Markey bill by 13 percentage points, representing an expected social cost of US$60 billion (in 2018 US dollars). Our findings also suggest how future climate policy proposals can be designed to be more robust to political opposition.
... As the energy industry tends to be capital intensive and requires specific assets, industry players have formidable incentives to influence policy outcomes (Alt et al. 1999;Hughes and Lipscy 2013). In fact, a voluminous literature on energy politics has found that interest groups in the energy industry exert substantial influence on energy and environmental policies (Aidt 1998;Cheon and Urpelainen 2013;Gullberg 2008;Kang 2015;Kim, Urpelainen, and Yang 2016;Michaelowa 2005;Raustiala 1997;Vogel 1996). ...
Article
State policies shape firms’ incentives to lobby in the United States, but the existing lobbying literature mostly ignores these incentives. Using lobbying records for all electric utilities in the United States from 1998 to 2012, we examine how state policies affect federal lobbying by both proponents and opponents of federal support for the renewable energy policy. Our theory predicts that supportive state policies reduce the returns to lobbying by both proponents and opponents. Empirically, we show that when the federal production tax credit for renewable energy is about to expire, electric utilities from states without renewable portfolio standards become more likely to lobby than those from states with these policies. Because the timing of the expiration of the production tax credit is quasi-random, these findings carry a causal interpretation. Using text analysis techniques, we also show that the lobbying efforts are focused on energy and environmental issues while lobbying on unrelated topics remains unaffected.
... With this paper we unravel one mechanism through which non-state actors can influence policy change with the aim to contribute to disentangling the interactions between political actors and their sociopolitical environment that may lead to policy adaptation. We focus on interest groups (IG), i.e. organized non-state actors that aim to influence policy outcomes (Hojnacki et al., 2012), because of their increasing involvement and importance for environmental policy making on the global (Arts, 2006;Betsill and Corell, 2001), regional (Hallstrom, 2004;Klüver, 2013;Michaelowa, 1998) and national levels (Cheon and Urpelainen, 2013). IG are both widely present in policy (Falkner, 2000;Rhodes, 2007Rhodes, , 1996 and have the potential to influence policy processes. ...
Article
Adaptation of environmental policies to often unexpected crises is an important function of sustainable governance arrangements. However the relationship between environmental change and policy is complicated. Much research has focused on understanding institutional dynamics or the role of specific participants in the policy process. This paper draws attention to interest groups and the mechanism through which they influence policy change. Existing research offers conflicting evidence in regards to the different ways in which interest groups may affect change. This paper provides an in-depth study of the 2013 European Union Common Fisheries Policy reform − a policy change characterized by active interest group participation. It traces the activity of interest group coalitions to understand how they achieved influence under a changing policy context. The study involves interviews with interest group representatives, policy experts and decision-makers, document analysis of interest group statements and EU legislative documents. Findings identify the important role of coalition-building and informational lobbying for environmental interest group success in exploiting favorable sociopolitical conditions and influencing reform outcomes. An insight on interest group influence and its conditions contributes to our understanding of the complex dynamics of the environmental policy process as well as its implications for policy adaptation to environmental change.
... 6 Aklin and Urpelainen (2013); Levy and Kolk (2002); Meckling (2011); Meckling (2015); Vormedal (2011). 7 Aidt (1998); Bernauer and Caduff (2004); Cheon and Urpelainen (2013); Moe (2012); Vogel (1995). 8 Hughes and Urpelainen (2015); Meckling (2011;. ...
Article
When can complex multi-round environmental policymaking like that seen in climate be successful? An emerging branch of literature examines how sequencing matters to success and under what circumstances path dependent dynamics can lead to increasingly stringent climate and environmental policy. Here, I propose an industry typology that divides industry into four categories based on their relationship and likely response to early regulatory policy moves. I use a series of case studies that compare the application of this typology across issue areas internationally, looking comparatively at ozone and climate change policymaking; and subnationally across U.S. states in the climate change issue area. Using these case studies, I show how this model for understanding different mixes of industry type can help us understand and predict the likelihood of policy-industry feedback that leads to increasing environmental and renewable energy policy success over time, both at the international level and comparatively across national and sub-national jurisdictions.
... To control for the degree of fossil-fuel dependency on compliance, we include gasoline consumption in our statistical analysis. As Cheon and Urpelainen (2013) argue, competing interest groups will influence the stringency of environmental policies. One may hypothesize that countries with higher gasoline consumption are less likely to comply with international agreements that aim to reduce GHG emissions from transport fuels because concerned actors (road transporters, automobile owners' associations and the like) will counter the influence of environmental groups. ...
Article
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The Kyoto Protocol required most developed countries collectively to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions about 5% below 1990 levels by 2012. Despite the binding nature of each country’s emissions-limitation target, levels of compliance varied greatly. What explains this variation in compliance? This article shows that the amount of material consumption within each country may contribute to answering this question. Using cross-sectional time-series data analysis for 36 Annex I (developed) countries from 2000 to 2012 and controlling for a range of domestic and international factors, quantitative analysis shows that compliance with emissions targets is least likely to be realized in countries with higher levels of consumption. This tendency has vitally important implications for agreements on future emissions limitations because those agreements must include more of the large developing countries that are intent on raising their own citizens’ consumption toward levels in the developed world. Without addressing consumption behaviors and the policy implications thereof, adequately mitigating GHG pollution in the future, notably through the 2015 Paris Agreement, will be extremely difficult.
... For instance, some models of climate policy conflict invoke the balance of power between "green" (low-carbon) and "brown" (carbon-intensive) economic actors in a given polity. Aklin and Urpelainen (2013) and Cheon and Urpelainen (2013) link adoption of clean energy policies to the existence of clean energy coalitions that can counterbalance industrial lobbies. Meckling (2011) links the emergence of emissions trade worldwide to "carbon coalitions" between environmental groups and businesses that stand to benefit materially from climate policy. ...
Article
Climate change policy is generally modeled as a global collective action problem structured by free-riding concerns. Drawing on quantitative data, archival work, and elite interviews, we review empirical support for this model and find that the evidence for its claims is weak relative to the theory’s pervasive influence. We find, first, that the strongest collective action claims appear empirically unsubstantiated in many important climate politics cases. Second, collective action claims—whether in their strongest or in more nuanced versions—appear observationally equivalent to alternative theories focused on distributive conflict within countries. We argue that extant patterns of climate policy making can be explained without invoking free-riding. Governments implement climate policies regardless of what other countries do, and they do so whether a climate treaty dealing with free-riding has been in place or not. Without an empirically grounded model for global climate policy making, institutional and political responses to climate change may ineffectively target the wrong policy-making dilemma. We urge scholars to redouble their efforts to analyze the empirical linkages between domestic and international factors shaping climate policy making in an effort to empirically ground theories of global climate politics. Such analysis is, in turn, the topic of this issue’s special section.
... However, less is known about mass public beliefs about collective economic consequences from climate action (rather than individual costs) and how these beliefs are formed as a function of distributional effects on sectors. Economic sectors often bear the monetary brunt of climate policy and shape countries' policy responses to climate change, while emission reduction targets are increasingly framed around sectoral responsibilities (Cheon and Urpelainen 2013;Hughes and Urpelainen 2015). This article encourages the conversation about the importance of sectors in the domestic economy for understanding countries' climate responses (Bechtel et al. 2019;Olson-Hazboun et al. 2018;Tvinnereim and Ivarsflaten 2016). ...
Article
Climate policy has distributional effects, and ratcheting up climate ambition will only become politically feasible if the general public believes that their country can win from ambitious climate action. In this article, we develop a theory of belief formation that anchors distributional effects from climate action at the sector level. Specifically, we study how knowing about these impacts shapes public beliefs about collective economic consequences from climate policy—not only in a home country but also abroad. A nationally representative survey experiment in the United Kingdom demonstrates that respondents are biased toward their home country in assessing information about winning and losing sectors: while beliefs brighten for good news and worsen for bad news when the home country is involved, distributional effects from abroad are discounted for belief formation. We also show that feelings of “international embeddedness,” akin to globalization attitudes, make UK respondents consistently hold more positive beliefs that the country can benefit from ambitious climate action. Ruling out several alternative explanations, these results offer a first step toward a better understanding of how distributional effects in one issue area, such as globalization, can spill over to other issue areas, such as climate change.
... Relative absence of effective opposition, compared to other parts of the UK, has relevance here. This suggests that forging policy communities around energy development may matter more where there are potentially effective opposing actors (see also Cheon and Urpelainen 2013), and this in turn, may be particularly relevant to certain combinations of technological pathways and contexts. Seen in this light, Scotland has best displayed the kind of actor networks conducive to facilitating renewable energy expansion based on the bulk provision of controversial technologies like on-shore wind, where sustained elite cohesion around policy and implementation is important for investment. ...
Article
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Amidst growing analytical interest in the spatial dimensions of sustainable energy transitions, relatively little attention has been given to the role of sub-national government, or the ways in which dominant socio-technical regimes for energy navigate diverse contexts. This paper addresses these two concerns by assessing the impacts of devolution within the UK on renewable energy development. It draws principally on policy networks analysis as the basis of a comparative assessment, examining how far the governments of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have translated their formal powers in the energy sphere into renewable energy outcomes. Scotland’s relative success in facilitating rapid expansion of on-shore wind is attributed to a more enduring and cohesive policy community around renewable energy growth than in Northern Ireland and Wales, but this success has been adversely affected by fragmenting policy networks around renewables at national (UK) level. The analysis highlights especially the role of planning and consenting, as mechanisms by which devolved governments have worked to contain the potentially disruptive effects of opposition to major infrastructure investments, thereby enhancing regime reproduction.
... Such differences have been explained by, for instance, varying membership in international networks and learning effects (Hakelberg 2014;Hildén 2011;Tews et al. 2003) or the presence of democratic institutions, which are understood to provide more public goods than autocratic structures do (Bayer and Urpelainen 2016;Böhmelt et al. 2016). To explain climate policy variation among democracies, scholars have highlighted differences in citizen preferences and ideologies (Berry et al. 2015;Matisoff 2008); interest group strength (Cheon and Urpelainen 2013;Fredriksson et al. 2004); and types of institutions, economic organization, and governments (Bernhagen 2008;Dolšak 2001;Lachapelle and Paterson 2013;Schaffer and Bernauer 2014). Finally, there is growing evidence that political competition is key for understanding energy and climate policy making in democracies (Aklin and Urpelainen 2013;Breetz et al. 2018;Stokes 2016). ...
Article
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Domestic policies are the cornerstone of the new global climate governance architecture. However, what motivates vote-seeking politicians to pursue climate policies remains remarkably unclear, as the climate politics literature suggests that climate policies are usually not perceived as a vote winner. The present article revisits this issue and argues that a better understanding of the relationship between electoral competition and climate policy making requires taking into account differences both in party ideologies and in policy characteristics. Studying twenty-nine democracies between 1990 and 2016, the analysis finds that climate policy production overall tends to increase as the election approaches due to increases in “soft” policies, such as subsidies, research grants, and information instruments, and relatively stable production rates of “hard” policies like taxes and regulations over the electoral term. Regarding partisan politics, left governments are found to produce more hard, but not more soft, climate policies than center and right governments, especially before elections. This suggests that partisan and electoral incentives are important reference points in the fight against climate change.
... The dummy left, or centre discriminates between governments that express the leftwing or a centrist ideology from the right-wing ideology. Studies of Cadoret and Padovano (2016), Cheon and Urpelainen (2013) and Biresselioglu and Karaibrahimoglu (2012) also use the DPI data and dummy variables to measure government orientation. ...
Article
This study examines the determinants of renewable energy investment, focusing on government orientation, nature of government system and government policy. Considering three possible ideologies of the ruling party including left, right and centre and two possible natures of the government system including presidential and parliamentary system, this research employs a panel data of 60 countries. This research is the first to examine the effect of nature of government system on renewable energy investment, using a sample from both developed and non-developed countries. The results confirm that both the left and central-orientated ruling party promote renewable energy investment more than a right-orientated government. Although the presidential system has greater ability to enact environmental policies quicker, the result suggests that the parliamentarian system has a better effect on promoting renewable energy investment. In an interesting result, the study finds that developed countries do not consider renewables to be an alternative to the conventional method of electricity production. In this case, developed countries are committed to the growth in renewable because they find investment in these renewables essential for the environment. Finally, the study establishes that the effectiveness of government support policies depend on the type of technology or the sub-group.
... 28 Biesenbender and Tosun (2014), p. 424. 29 E.g., Cheon and Urpelainen (2013); Markard et al. (2016); Jacobsson and Lauber (2006); Dumas et al. (2016). 30 To our knowledge, Stokes (2013) and Haelg et al. (2020) are the only studies analyzing how politics can influence policy instrument design. ...
Chapter
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In light of climate change mitigation and the transformation of the energy sector, many jurisdictions have adopted deployment policies for renewable energy (RE) technologies. Several RE deployment policy instruments have diffused from frontrunner countries to other jurisdictions. Switzerland implemented its first comprehensive RE support policy with the adoption of a cost-covering and technology-specific feed-in tariff in 2009, following Germany’s example. Yet, policy designs look very different in the two countries and, importantly, also result in different policy outcomes. In this chapter, we examine the reasons for these policy design differences. We unpack the design of the Swiss feed-in tariff and analyze which of the policy’s elements were directly adopted from Germany and which were accommodated to the Swiss context and why. In particular, we compare the specific instrument designs for two renewable power generation technologies, solar photovoltaics (PV) and biomass, and study the role of technology-related actors in shaping these policy designs. We draw from the policy diffusion and policy transfer literatures and offer important extensions to the literature by showing that, instead of entire policies, it is possible that only certain design elements of a policy diffuse from one jurisdiction to another. Additionally, we find that the composition of the existing technology-related actor bases in the donor and recipient countries is important in determining whether the accommodation of the design elements to the domestic context occurs.
... First, many scholars argue that domestic interest coalitions influence energy policy choices. These choices depend on the strategies and relative power of the energy sector, energy-dependent industries, and advocacy coalitions (Cheon & Urpelainen, 2013;Jacobsson & Lauber, 2006) as well as on public opinion mediated through party politics (Anderson et al., 2017;Brouard & Guinaudeau, 2015). Second, research has shown that new ideas may be a prerequisite for energy policy change and can empower new coalitions (Cox & Béland, 2013, pp. ...
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... Several studies have found that communities living near proposed solar or wind power sites often oppose the visual intrusion and shadow flicker, land use and airspace interference, as well as ecological and cultural degradation caused by the project (Rule, 2014;Wolsink, 2007). Interest groups allied with nonrenewable energy resources may also line up against renewable energy project development (Cheon & Urpelainen, 2013). Still, many energy infrastructure projects may rouse little opposition where underlying community values and perceptions of community benefits align with the projects (Bidwell, 2013;Cowell et al., 2011). ...
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... First, in terms of the scope mechanism, we focus on whether a certain type of business interest is included in the formulation and implementation of the recipient country's BRI power plants. More specially, we pay particular attention to interest groups that represent the domestic coal industry, which has strong incentives to support the expansion of coal power while opposing the development of the RE sector (Cheon and Urpelainen 2013). Once this group has access to energy policy formulation, it is more supportive of traditional fossil fuels than renewable energies. ...
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The aim of the research described in this article is to investigate the interest groups acting in the RE sector and the influence of the activities on public policy-making in 2008–2018. Authors, based on the functions of interest groups, distinguish the main principles of their activities: to properly analyse the situation, to express themselves publicly and to communicate with society, to form a positive attitude, which would be accepted by both the interest group and the society. In addition, interest groups communicate directly with government officials, attend public hearings, report on current political issues, and appear in the media. Involvement of interest groups can be defined as the process by which interest groups or their representatives, together with officials, are involved in raising issues of major importance to society, formulating policy, discussing and deciding on issues relevant to the management of the RE sector. It can be argued that although the public policy is formulated and implemented by public authorities during the public governance process, there are various interest parties involved at different stages of the process. They can formally become influential interest groups according to the value of their influence and the relevance of the issue. All interested parties have an opportunity to participate in the process of developing the legal framework, but the proposals of all of them are not considered due to the aspect of renewable energy. There is no unified database in Lithuania, which contains all interest groups acting in Lithuania. Therefore, it is necessary to typologize them. The typology is based on Kaunas University of Technology scientists’ group project 2015–2017: Interaction between parties and interest groups: nature, causes, consequences, according to the specifics of the Lithuanian RE sector. In order to investigate the activities of the interest groups, the methods of document analysis and descriptive statistics were applied. Comprehensive data collection and systematisation was carried out on the basis of the Seimas committees’ meeting documents, and on the basis of the received analysis data, typology of interest groups and their impact assessment was performed. In order to find out the involvement of interest groups in the public-governance of the ER sector, the analysis of meetings of the Seimas committees and commissions in 2008–2019 was carried out. During the period 2007–2010, issues relevant to the RE sector were discussed. In the documents of meetings invited persons and those who actively made proposals have been highlighted, thus identifying interest groups. In the second stage of research, based on the typology presented in the article earlier, interest groups were categorized by adapting the table accordingly to the interest groups involved in public governance in the RE sector. The third stage identifies the most influential interest groups acting in the public sector of the RE, according to the number (activity) of proposals submitted to the draft laws and accordingly the number of submitted proposals. This is how the percentage of influence was derived. As the results of the research have shown, that interest groups have the greatest influence in the public government process of the RE sector at the stage of public policy making. However, the balancing of interests does not produce the desired results due to insufficient influence of the interest group. By researching the activities of interest groups in the RE sector policy making stage, types of interest groups can be established according to their members’ goals, activities, aspirations, and relationships. After research of the Seimas activities in 2008–2018 related to activities in RE policy-making, it can be stated that the public administration organizations and their associations are most active interest groups in submitting amendments to the law. They have submitted 867 proposals during the analysed period. Members of the Seimas have submitted 414 proposals. During the period which was under review, 250 business proposals were submitted by business interest groups and only 28 by public interest groups.
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We draw on the policy diffusion literature to shed more light on the determinants of treaty ratification, a crucial step in the formation of international regimes. Our hypotheses stipulate that a country's ratification behaviour is influenced by the ratification choices of other countries in general, or of specific types of other countries. The underlying argument is that the ratification behaviour of (specific) other countries sends particular signals - for instance signals about implementation costs, competitiveness effects or reputation costs - to the country in question. The empirical testing is done on data for ratification of the UN Economic Commission for Europe's agreements on long-range transboundary air pollution. The results show that international factors are as important in influencing ratification choices as domestic factors. This result raises interesting questions about the relative importance of international and domestic determinants in different policy areas and at different stages of international regime formation.
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This paper derives similar, asymptotic unit root tests for first-order autoregressive panel data models, assuming that the time dimension of the panel is fixed. It is shown that the limiting distributions of the test statistics are normal. The assumption that the time dimension is fixed allows us to derive analytical expressions for the moments of the distributions. Similarity with respect to the initial conditions of the data generating process is achieved by including fixed effect dummy variables in the regression model, while similarity with respect to fixed effects in the data generating process is achieved by including a linear deterministic trend for each individual unit of the panel. When fixed effects or individual trends are included as regressors the least squares estimator of the autoregressive parameter is inconsistent and thus the test statistics must be appropriately adjusted. Monte Carlo evidence suggests that the proposed tests have empirical size that is very close to the nominal five percent level and substantially more power than the corresponding unit root tests for the single time series case.
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This article builds a theoretical framework that highlights the role of social movements in industry emergence and growth. Using insights from the literature on social movement outcomes and industry creation, the article shows that the environmental movement has shaped the development of the wind energy industry at both the national and subnational levels. During the past two decades, wind power has transformed from a small, "alternative" energy industry into a multibillion-dollar global industry that produces electricity for millions of people. Quantitative analysis shows that the wind energy industry grows the fastest in countries and regions that have not only a high density of environmental groups but also good wind potential or a favorable political opportunity structure. Case studies deepen this picture by examining how environmental organizations contribute to the development of the wind energy industry.
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Renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) for electricity generation are politically popular in many U.S. states although economic analysis suggests they are not first-best policies. We present an empirical analysis of the political and economic factors that drive state governments to adopt an RPS, and the factors that lead to the inclusion of in-state requirements given the adoption of an RPS. Although advocates claim an RPS will stimulate job growth, we find that states with high unemployment rates are slower to adopt an RPS. Local environmental conditions and preferences have no significant effect on the timing of adoption. Overall, RPS adoption seems to be driven more by political ideology and private interests than by local environmental and employment benefits, raising questions as to when environmental federalism serves the public interest.
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The environmental Kuznets curve posits an inverted-U relationship between pollution and economic development. Pessimistic critics of empirically estimated curves have argued that their declining portions are illusory, either because they are cross-sectional snapshots that mask a long-run "race to the bottom" in environmental standards, or because industrial societies will continually produce new pollutants as the old ones are controlled. However, recent evidence has fostered an optimistic view by suggesting that the curve is actually flattening and shifting to the left. The driving forces appear to be economic liberalization, clean technology diffusion, and new approaches to pollution regulation in developing countries.
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Since the 1960s, interest group scholars have suggested that groups mostly lobby legislators who, prior to lobbying, are expected to support their favored positions. We present theoretical and empirical evidence that, other things being equal, groups also lobby legislators who are predisposed to vote against their favored positions. We find that when groups lobby their ex ante supporters, they do so to counteract the influence of opposition groups. On the basis of our findings, we argue that organized interests play a much more prominent and substantial role in the legislative process than past research indicates.
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Quadrat Sampling Recapture Sampling Transect Sampling Adaptive Sampling
Book
Political scientists have long classified systems of government as parliamentary or presidential, two-party or multiparty, and so on. But such distinctions often fail to provide useful insights. For example, how are we to compare the United States, a presidential bicameral regime with two weak parties, to Denmark, a parliamentary unicameral regime with many strong parties? Veto Players advances an important, new understanding of how governments are structured. The real distinctions between political systems, contends George Tsebelis, are to be found in the extent to which they afford political actors veto power over policy choices. Drawing richly on game theory, he develops a scheme by which governments can thus be classified. He shows why an increase in the number of "veto players," or an increase in their ideological distance from each other, increases policy stability, impeding significant departures from the status quo. Policy stability affects a series of other key characteristics of polities, argues the author. For example, it leads to high judicial and bureaucratic independence, as well as high government instability (in parliamentary systems). The propositions derived from the theoretical framework Tsebelis develops in the first part of the book are tested in the second part with various data sets from advanced industrialized countries, as well as analysis of legislation in the European Union. Representing the first consistent and consequential theory of comparative politics, Veto Players will be welcomed by students and scholars as a defining text of the discipline.
Article
The question of whether parties converge or diverge over time has attracted a great deal of theoretical and empirical attention. In this article we make two contributions to this literature. First, rather than looking at general measures of ideology, we examine a specific policy area-environmental policy to see whether the parties have diverged or converged. We utilize ratings produced by the League of Conservation Voters to obtain measures of congressional voting. Unlike other issue-specific studies of divergence, we adjust these scores, using a methodology recently developed by Groseclose, Levitt, and Snyder (1999), to make them comparable across time. Our results show that Republicans and Democrats in Congress have diverged over time on environmental issues. Second, once we determine that the parties have diverged, we analyze the underlying causes of this divergence. We provide three explanations for divergence between the two parties, based on the fact that parties are not monolithic but rather are made up of regional, factional, and individual components. If regions behave differently on an issue, then shifting representation of regions within parties will lead to shifts in overall party behavior. When internal factions with stronger views than the general party are more supported by interest groups and less constrained by issue salience or economic conditions, then the parties are more likely to diverge. And when party members are replaced by individuals with different views on an issue, overall party behavior shifts accordingly.
Article
Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are increasingly important participants in international environmental institutions. NGOs have been formally—but not fully—incorporated into what were previously “states-only” activities. This article surveys these new participatory roles and offers an analytical framework for understanding the pattern, terms, and significance, for international theory, of NGO inclusion. NGOs are distinctive entities with important skills and resources to deploy in the process of international environmental cooperation. Rather than undermining state sovereignty, active NGO participation enhances the abilities of states to regulate globally. The empirical pattern of NGO participation has been structured across time and functional areas to reap these gains. Recent evidence from the restructuring of the World Bank's Environment Facility is used to test these claims. That NGOs are now more pervasive in international environmental institutions illustrates the expansion, not the retreat, of the state in addressing global environmental problems.
Article
In this book, Professors Baumol and Oates provide a rigorous and comprehensive analysis of the economic theory of environmental policy. They present a formal, theoretical treatment of those factors influencing the quality of life. By covering both the theory of externalities and its application to environmental policy, the authors have retained the basic structure and organization of the first edition, which has become a standard reference in the field. In this edition, however, they have updated their analysis to incorporate recent research in environmental economics.
Article
This paper explores the extent and character of interest group influence on legislative policy in a model of decision making under incomplete information. A committee may propose an alternative to a given status quo under closed rule. Policies are related to consequences with ex ante uncertainty. An interest group is able to acquire policy-relevant information at a price and has access to legislators at both the agenda-setting stage and the vote stage. Lobbying is modeled as a game of strategic information transmission. The price of information is itself a private datum to the group, and legislators cannot observe whether the group elects to become informed. If the group is informed, then its information is likewise private. Among the results are that not all informed lobbyists choose to try to influence the agenda directly; that there can coexist influential lobbying at both stages of the process; and that while informative agenda stage lobbying is generically influential, the same is not true of voting stage lobbying.
Article
Technology and Culture 39.4 (1998) 641-670 A huge body of scholarship in recent decades has convincingly demonstrated the contingent and contextual character of technological development. Technologies are shaped by social factors and thus "mirror our societies." Regional and national characteristics of technological developments can often be explained by their embedment in different cultures and environments. To describe or explain technological differences, historians of technology have employed the loosely defined concept of "technological style," which in recent years has received growing attention. Drawing extensively on this concept, John Staudenmaier has raised the possibility of a "link between technological style and national character." The development of wind technology from 1940 to 1990 in Germany, Denmark, and the United States does at first glance appear to corroborate Staudenmaier's hypothesis. Wind technology in these countries differs in conspicuous ways. The renaissance of wind power technology in California and Denmark in the 1980s contained several notable surprises. California produced scores of unsuccessful turbine designs, poorly performing turbines, and disastrous turbine failures, especially when compared to the clearly superior Danish wind technology. The American failure looks even worse when one considers that between 1975 and 1988 the United States government spent twenty times (and Germany five times) as much for wind power research and development as did Denmark, yet Danish manufacturers made better turbines -- have, indeed, since the early 1980s been the most successful wind turbine producers. Danish wind turbines supplied about 45 percent of the total worldwide wind turbine capacity in 1990. Most U.S. manufacturers failed in the 1980s, and by 1990 only one major manufacturer of commercial turbines (US Windpower) remained. Producers from other countries had little impact on the total wind turbine capacity in the 1980s. The failure of numerous turbine designs and the remarkable contrast between R&D expenditures and commercial success raise important questions. Why did so many designs fail? What made Danish turbines superior? How could small Danish companies outclass large American and German high-tech concerns? Forrest Stoddard, an American engineer, identified characteristic technical differences of Danish and American turbines that he considered responsible for Danish success and American failures. Peter Karnøe, a Danish political scientist, has explained the superiority of Danish wind turbines as a result of Danish manufacturers' "bottom-up" strategy for development: a slow, crafts-oriented, step-by-step process including incremental learning through practical experience. This strategy, Karnøe argues, proved superior to the "top-down" approaches of science-oriented German and American researchers and manufacturers, which aimed at both quick and ambitious full-scale developments. Karnøe has shown that many striking wind turbine failures may be attributed to the disadvantages of top-down development. Stoddard's and Karnøe's interpretations offer interesting explanations for the remarkable Danish success, but they do not answer all the questions posed. Why did the Danish bottom-up strategy prove more successful than American and German top-down approaches, and why did this strategy evolve in Denmark, and only there? Historical analysis shows that technical and conceptual differences in wind turbine development had important roots in the 1940s and 1950s. Individual and collective ideas and working styles can be attributed to individual actors and particular communities, both of which have characteristic patterns of knowledge, actions, and artifacts. These patterns may be called technological styles. The failure of a top-down approach to the development of wind technology reveals the limits of science-oriented technological development, or engineering science, and hints at technological hubris. Big-science and high-tech approaches were in this case mistakenly considered powerful enough to support gigantism, extreme technical sophistication, and immediate full-scale development. Wind power's long and rich history reached its zenith in industrializing western Europe and North America in the late nineteenth century. In the twentieth century the use of wind power declined, and thousands of windmills and wind turbines disappeared within a few decades. By the 1980s, however, oil crises, growing concern over environmental degradation, and nuclear-power protests were contributing to a revival of wind technology. Supported by government subsidies, California and Denmark became by far the biggest markets for wind turbines. By the late 1980s, California accounted for 79 percent...
Article
Professional lobbyists are among the most experienced, knowledgeable, and strategic actors one can find in the everyday practice of politics. Nonetheless, their behavioral patterns often appear anomalous when viewed in the light of existing theories. We revisit these anomalies in search of an alternative theory. We model lobbying not as exchange (vote buying) or persuasion (informative signaling) but as a form of legislative subsidy—a matching grant of policy information, political intelligence, and legislative labor to the enterprises of strategically selected legislators. The proximate political objective of this strategy is not to change legislators' minds but to assist natural allies in achieving their own, coincident objectives. The theory is simple in form, realistic in its principal assumptions, and counterintuitive in its main implications. Empirically, the model renders otherwise anomalous regularities comprehensible and predictable. In a later section, we briefly bring preferences back in, examining the important but relatively uncommon conditions under which preference-centered lobbying should occur.
Article
One school of thought in the literature on regulatory competition in environmental and consumer policy argues that inter-jurisdictional competition promotes regulatory laxity. The other highlights rent-seeking as a major driving force, implying that regulatory laxity is rare because rent-seeking is omnipresent. We observe that in most areas of environmental and consumer policy in advanced industrialized countries regulation has become much stricter since the 1970s. What then has been driving environmental and consumer risk regulation up? A popular explanation holds that large green jurisdictions have been forcing their trading partners to trade or ratchet up their regulation. In addition, political economists have developed bottom up explanations focusing on interest group politics and corporate behaviour. This article adds to the latter line by endogenising public perceptions and by exploring the effects of corporate environmental performance strategies on environmental and consumer risk policy. The empirical relevance of propositions is illustrated with case studies on growth hormones, electronic waste, and food safety.
Article
In France, an ambitious programme to expand electricity from renewables was outlined in the year 2000 Electricity Bill and led to the establishment of a feed-in tariff guaranteeing kilowatt hour prices to targeted suppliers. Because this support mechanism was a major cause of the dramatic expansion of wind power in Denmark, Germany and Spain, it was expected to have similar consequences in France. However, the pace of expansion proved moderate over 2000–5, with some acceleration since. This article explains these outcomes by reference to three factors: (1) the influence of institutional frameworks, (2) the impact of industry structures and (3) the role of mobilising discourses. Finally, it surveys policy reforms in 2005–7 to accelerate deployment. Noting that France's 2010 target of 21% of electricity generation from renewables is unlikely to be met, the article concludes that policy makers need to look beyond the mere choice of policy instrument (such as a feed-in tariff). Its main finding is that the impact of a policy instrument is heavily influenced not just by its settings (in this context, the level of economic incentive offered to market actors) but also by the institutional and industrial contexts of usage and by the relevance of mobilising discourses. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
Article
The EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) initially treated power producers and energy-intensive industries similarly, despite clear structural differences between these industries regarding e.g. pass-through of costs. Hence, the energy-intensive industries could be seen as losing out in the internal distribution. In the January 2008 proposal for a reformed ETS post-2012, a differentiated system was proposed where the energy-intensive industries would come out relatively much better. Why is this? Although power producers still have a dominant position in the system, the increasing consensus about windfall profits has weakened their standing. Conversely, increasing attention to such profits and not least the possibility of global carbon leakage has strengthened the case of energy-intensive industries at both national and EU levels. These industries have become more active in EU processes and somewhat better organized. Finally, growing fear of lax global climate policies has strengthened the case of these industries further. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
Article
Dramatic world change has stimulated interest in research questions about the dynamics of politics. We have seen increases in the number of time series data sets and the length of typical time series. But three shortcomings are prevalent in published time series analysis. First, analysts often estimate models without testing restrictions implied by their specification. Second, researchers link the theoretical concept of equilibrium with cointegration and error correction models. Third, analysts often do a poor job of interpreting results. The consequences include weak connections between theory and tests, biased estimates, and incorrect inferences. We outline techniques for estimating linear dynamic regressions with stationary data and weakly exogenous regressors. We recommend analysts (1) start with general dynamic models and test restrictions before adopting a particular specification and (2) use the wide array of information available from dynamic specifications. We illustrate this strategy with data on Congressional approval and tax rates across OECD countries.
Article
This paper develops a model of interest group lobbying based on the central premise that such lobbying is fundamentally an exercise in strategic information transmission. Lobbyists typically possess information that legislators do not and, inter alia, such information is relevant to legislators when it concerns the consequences — either policy or political — of supporting one bill rather than another. However, given that the interests of lobbyists do not necessarily coincide with those of legislators, the extent to which a lobbyist is able to persuade a legislator to act in his or her interest is moot. The paper explores the extent to which lobbyists can influence a legislative decision in such a setting; in particular, we are concerned with the incentives for interest groups to acquire costly information and lobby a legislator when there exist other groups that do not share the same interests. Among the results are that a legislator will on average make better decisions with lobbying than without, and that the more important is an issue to a special interest group, the more likely is the legislator to make the correct full-information decision.
Article
The dominance of a single-energy system inevitably leads to excessive burden on, and eventually weakening, a particular aspect of the environment, and can cause environmental fatigue and failure (permanent damage) or even catastrophe if dominated for too long; thus it inevitably poses the health and environmental risk. This is the case for our currently fossil-fuel-based energy systems. In fact, each energy system, including renewables and alternative fuels, has its own unique adverse impact on the environment, as dictated by the second law of thermodynamics. A truly sustainable development may be achieved with the diversification and localization of energy sources and systems if the adverse impact of each energy system is sufficiently small and well within the tolerance limit of the environment. Energy diversification and localization would also provide a security for the energy supply and distribution as well for the energy consumers—a specifically important issue in the wake of blackout (electric power failure) in the Northeastern states to the Midwest of the United States and part of Canada on August 14, 2003. The idea of diversified energy systems for the good of humanity and environment is similar to many analogies in other fields, such as bio-diversity is the best means to prevent the spread and damage of diseases and pests, and diversified investment is the best strategy to guarantee the overall best investment return. It is concluded that the diversification and localization of energy systems is the best future energy systems that would be environmentally compatible, and allow for sustainable development as well as energy security for both supply and distribution to the energy consumers.
Article
This paper reviews long-term development of biofuels in Sweden and the Netherlands. In particular this paper explores the social dynamics of ‘niche protection’. The Swedish and Dutch cases are analyzed by means of the Strategic Niche Management (SNM) perspective extended with insights from political science. Our main argument is that the development of biofuels and the way this development is protected relies on a variety of actor strategies and (local and global) discourses. This case therefore suggests that policy making for biofuels is a complex and non-linear process that can only partly be managed by policy actors.
Article
Renewable electricity development has taken different paths across countries, underpinned by different policy frameworks. Although there has been a convergence to two main mechanisms, the feed-in tariff (FIT) and the renewable portfolio standard (RPS), much debate remains focused on the effectiveness of each for meeting multiple objectives, especially energy security, CO2 reduction and economic development. Although most countries share these objectives, their choice of policy varies, explained largely by national context. Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom stand out as lead countries based on their experiences with the FIT and RPS and provide important lessons for other nations. The evidence from these three, as examined in this paper, suggests that policy design and commitment are key factors for success. Denmark and Germany have 10 years of experience with FITs and are world leaders in the field of renewable energy (RE) development. They are closest to meeting their RE targets and have been able to achieve several other objectives, especially industrial development and job creation, and in the case of Germany, CO2 emission reductions. Although other factors have been important in determining policy choice and implementation in these countries, the particular design features of the FIT allow it to address the needs of the sector.
Article
We investigate the effect of corruption and industry sector size on energy policy outcomes. The main predictions of our theory are that: (i) greater corruptibility of policy makers reduces energy policy stringency; (ii) greater lobby group coordination costs (increased industry sector size) results in more stringent energy policy; and (iii) workers’ and capital owners’ lobbying efforts on energy policy are negatively related. These predictions are tested using a unique panel data set on the energy intensity of 11 sectors in 12 OECD countries for years 1982–1996. The evidence generally supports the predictions.
Article
This paper narrative argues that industrial economies have been locked into fossil fuel-based energy systems through a process of technological and institutional co-evolution driven by path-dependent increasing returns to scale. It is asserted that this condition, termed carbon lock-in, creates persistent market and policy failures that can inhibit the diffusion of carbon-saving technologies despite their apparent environmental and economic advantages. The notion of a Techno-Institutional Complex is introduced to capture the idea that lock-in occurs through combined interactions among technological systems and governing institutions. While carbon lock-in provides a conceptual basis for understanding macro-level barriers to the diffusion of carbon-saving technologies, it also generates questions for standard economic modeling approaches that abstract away technological and institutional evolution in their elaboration. The question of escaping carbon lock-in is left for a future paper.