Carbon Geography: The Political Economy of Congressional Support for Legislation Intended to Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Production

47 Pages Posted: 19 May 2009 Last revised: 29 Oct 2013

See all articles by Michael Cragg

Michael Cragg

The Brattle Group

Matthew E. Kahn

University of Southern California; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 2009

Abstract

Stringent regulation for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions will impose different costs across geographical regions. Low-carbon, environmentalist states, such as California, would bear less of the incidence of such regulation than high-carbon Midwestern states. Such anticipated costs are likely to influence Congressional voting patterns. This paper uses several geographical data sets to document that conservative, poor areas have higher per-capita carbon emissions than liberal, richer areas. Representatives from such areas are shown to have much lower probabilities of voting in favor of anti-carbon legislation. In the 111th Congress, the Energy and Commerce Committee consists of members who represent high carbon districts. These geographical facts suggest that the Obama Administration and the Waxman Committee will face distributional challenges in building a majority voting coalition in favor of internalizing the carbon externality.

Suggested Citation

Cragg, Michael and Kahn, Matthew E., Carbon Geography: The Political Economy of Congressional Support for Legislation Intended to Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Production (May 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w14963. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1405971

Michael Cragg (Contact Author)

The Brattle Group ( email )

44 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Matthew E. Kahn

University of Southern California ( email )

2250 Alcazar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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