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Can Pigou at the Polls Stop Us Melting the Poles?

Soren Anderson (), Ioana Marinescu () and Boris Shor

No 26146, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Surveys show majority U.S. support for a carbon tax. Yet none has been adopted. Why? We study two failed carbon tax initiatives in Washington State in 2016 and 2018. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we show that Washington's real-world campaigns reduced support by 20 percentage points. Resistance to higher energy prices explains opposition to these policies in the average precinct, while ideology explains 90% of the variation in votes across precincts. Conservatives preferred the 2016 revenue-neutral policy, while liberals preferred the 2018 green-spending policy. Yet we forecast both initiatives would fail in other states, demonstrating that surveys are overly optimistic.

JEL-codes: D72 H23 H71 H72 Q52 Q54 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene, nep-env and nep-pub
Note: EEE PE POL
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