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Micro-Motives for State and Local Climate Change Initiatives

Harvard Law & Policy Review, Vol. 2, pp. 119-137, 2008

Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 07-19

19 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2007 Last revised: 20 Oct 2014

Kirsten H. Engel

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

Barak Orbach

University of Arizona

Abstract

To date, the majority of states and at least hundreds of cities have adopted local climate change initiatives, while the federal government has been anything between passive about to hostile toward climate change issues. State and city climate change initiatives pose a puzzle: why do citizens and politicians support actions the costs of which will be borne locally and any potential benefits will be shared with any living being on the earth? In this Essay, we address this puzzle through an analysis of the potential incentives of supporters of local climate change initiatives. Our analysis indicates that some of the support stems from informed, utility maximizing decisions and some is derived from various biases that affect individual decisionmaking. Furthermore, the analysis suggests that state and city climate change initiatives could affect incentives of elected and non-elected federal officials in ways that could lead to effective federal action on climate change.

Keywords: Environmental Law, Political Economy, Federalism, Climate Change

JEL Classification: D73, K23, P26, Q2

Suggested Citation

Engel, Kirsten H. and Orbach, Barak, Micro-Motives for State and Local Climate Change Initiatives. Harvard Law & Policy Review, Vol. 2, pp. 119-137, 2008; Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 07-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1014749

Kirsten Engel (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
520-621-5444 (Phone)

Barak Orbach

University of Arizona ( email )

1201 E. Speedway Blvd.
Tuscon, AZ 85721-0176
United States
520-626-7256 (Phone)
520.858.0025 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.orbach.org

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