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Political Institutions and Greenhouse Gas Controls

Lee Lane and David Montgomery

No 96, Working paper from Regulation2point0

Abstract: Research and insights taken from the field of political economy suggest that institutions limit the extent to which efficient policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are likely to be adopted. High transaction costs among nations, as well as domestic constraints like voter xenophobia and distrust of markets in the U.S. and ineffective legal and economic institutions in China, discourage international agreement. The U.S. must focus upon limiting economic harm from adopting poorly designed policies and developing strategies for adaptation or technology-driven geoengineering. Most importantly, the lessons of political economy must become central to the study of climate policy, including a healthy exchange of views between political economists and climate modelers.

Date: 2008-11
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