Effects of Political Institutions on Air Quality

(2009) Ecological Economics 68/5: 1355–1365

Posted: 11 Dec 2017

See all articles by Thomas Bernauer

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich

Vally Koubi

University of Bern - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 15, 2009


We empirically test existing theories on the provision of public goods, in particular air quality, using data on sulfur dioxide (SO2) concentrations from the Global Environment Monitoring Projects for 107 cities in 42 countries from 1971 to 1996. The results are as follows: First, we provide additional support for the claim that the degree of democracy has an independent positive effect on air quality. Second, we find that among democracies, presidential systems are more conducive to air quality than parliamentary ones. Third, in testing competing claims about the effect of interest groups on public goods provision in democracies we establish that labor union strength contributes to lower environmental quality, whereas the strength of green parties has the opposite effect.

Keywords: Democracy, Presidential and Parliamentary Systems, Interest Groups, Civil Liberties, Air Pollution, Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

Suggested Citation

Bernauer, Thomas and Koubi, Vally, Effects of Political Institutions on Air Quality (March 15, 2009). (2009) Ecological Economics 68/5: 1355–1365, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3085811

Thomas Bernauer (Contact Author)

ETH Zurich ( email )

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Vally Koubi

University of Bern - Department of Economics ( email )

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Bern, CH-3001

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