Comparative Politics

Changing Prices in a Changing Climate: Electoral Competition and Fossil Fuel Taxation

Authors

Abstract

When do governments increase the price of fossil fuels? Charting the theoretical territory between climate change politics and long-term policymaking, this paper highlights the role of electoral competition in shaping how politicians respond to the intertemporal tradeoff fossil fuel taxation represents. The more secure the government is in office, the more insulated it is from the vagaries of political competition, and the more likely it is to impose costs on constituents today to generate a future stable climate. By influencing governments’ time preferences, competition structures the myopia of elected officials. I test the arguments using an original dataset of gasoline taxation across high-income democracies between 1988-2013. I find evidence that higher levels of competition are associated with lower gasoline tax rates, and that the relationship is moderated by the level of costs imposed on voters, but not government partisanship.

Version notes

Removed case study. Added new analysis of relationship between competition, partisanship and tax rates.

Content

Thumbnail image of Finnegan 2021_Changing_prices_in_a_changing_climate.pdf

Comments

Log in or register with APSA to comment
Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] – please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .