My research interests include comparative politics, comparative political economy, comparative capitalism, institutions, electoral competition, political parties, state-business relationship, climate change policy, energy policy, environmental policy and long-term policy.
My Google Scholar profile can be found here.
Title: “Low carbon for the long term: The comparative political economy of climate policy investment”
Abstract: Why do some countries do much to address long-term problems like climate change while others do little? This thesis offers a novel theoretical account of the political drivers of long-term climate policy investments across high-income democracies. It argues that political institutions and electoral incentives are key and systematically structure the ability of governments to adopt low-carbon policies that translate short-term costs into long-term benefits. It fills a large gap in the comparative politics literature, which has paid little attention to the looming problem of climate change.
Institutions, climate change, and the foundations of long-term policymaking
Abstract: Many policy problems require taking costly action today for future benefits. Do institutions structure the ability of governments to address long-term challenges? Examining the case of climate change, this paper argues yes. It focuses on the way that two institutions – electoral rules and interest group intermediation – drive variation in climate policies across the high-income democracies by structuring the political conditions needed for them to occur. Proportional electoral rules increase electoral safety, allowing politicians to impose short-term costs on constituents. Institutionalized relationships between industry and the state enable governments to compensate losers, defusing organized opposition to policy change. Moreover, their joint presence generates powerful institutional complementarities that push countries onto distinct varieties of decarbonization. Tests using new data on shadow carbon prices provide empirical support for the arguments. This analysis is the first to provide comprehensive theoretical arguments that link institutions to the distributional politics of long-term climate change policymaking. By doing so it illuminates causal mechanisms that should structure policy responses to a more general set of long-term challenges.
Changing Prices in a Changing Climate: Electoral Competitiveness and Fossil Fuel Taxation
Abstract: For over 40 years, economists have advocated carbon taxes as the most efficient policy for addressing climate change. However, not all governments have increased the price of fossil fuels. When do politicians decide to increase consumer prices? This paper highlights the role of electoral competitiveness. I argue that carbon tax increases are most likely when competitiveness is low and politicians are insulated from voter punishment. Moreover, this effect depends on the personal costs that tax increases impose on voters. If a good is not widely consumed, politicians can tax it more easily, even when competition is high. I test this explanation using a unique dataset on gasoline taxes and new data on electoral competitiveness across advanced democracies between 1978 and 2014. The results are consistent with the theory. In addition, a case study of eco-tax reform in Germany across two sequential electoral periods demonstrates how changes in the electoral fortunes of the Social Democratic-Green coalition generated changes in fossil fuel tax policy. This analysis points to a crucial mechanism that plausibly accounts for the differential ability of governments to tackle a wider range of long-term policy challenges.
The politics of fossil fuel taxation over the long run: Gasoline taxes in US states since 1919
What are the political drivers of energy taxation over the long-term? This paper analyzes a unique dataset of gasoline tax rates in US states since their first adoption in 1919.