Political Self-Interest and U.S. Environmental Policy

Posted: 24 Aug 1999

See all articles by Michael Lyons

Michael Lyons

Utah State University - Department of Political Science


This article assembles a theory of political self-interest in U.S. environmental policy. The article selectively incorporates ideas from the economic and "public choice" self-interest literature, but mainly it draws upon the self-interest literature that straddles traditional political science and public choice. Deriving predictions about the voting public, interest groups, and politicians from this literature, the article concludes that U.S. officeholders do have incentive to respond to constituencies favoring environmental protection, but that the responses will consist predominately of environmental pork barreling and policy symbolism. The theory has important implications for environmental interest group political strategy.

Suggested Citation

Lyons, Michael, Political Self-Interest and U.S. Environmental Policy. Natural Resources Journal, Vol. 39, No. 2, Spring 1999 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=171397

Michael Lyons (Contact Author)

Utah State University - Department of Political Science ( email )

0725 University Blvd.
Logan, UT 84322-0725
United States
435-797-1312 (Phone)
435-797-3751 (Fax)

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