Local temperature anomalies increase climate policy interest and support: Analysis of internet searches and US congressional votes
22 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2020 Last revised: 5 Nov 2021
Date Written: July 29, 2020
Two studies examine the effects of anomalous temperature deviations (compared to ten-year averages) on interest in and support for climate policies. Study 1 analyzes the impacts of local temperature anomalies on information acquisition, namely Google searches about climate change and climate policies. We find strong evidence that temperature anomalies increase climate change information acquisition. Our results show that deviations from seasonal norms in both directions, i.e., temperatures higher or lower than expected, positively predict increased interest. Study 2 analyzes a highly consequential behavior, namely voting for Republican candidates, who in the timeframe of our data were not likely to support climate policies. Analysis of voting records from ten US midterm elections from 2002 to 2020 show that local temperature anomalies significantly decreased Republican candidates’ vote shares.
Keywords: local warming effect, climate policy support, climate mitigation behavior
JEL Classification: Q54, Q58
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation