Green Governments

42 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2020

See all articles by Niklas Potrafke

Niklas Potrafke

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Kaspar Wuthrich

University of California San Diego

Date Written: 2020


Green parties have enjoyed tremendous electoral success over the last decades. Yet, little is known about what they do when leading governments. We examine how Green governments influence macroeconomic, education, and environmental outcomes. Our empirical strategy exploits that the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan gave rise to an unanticipated change in government in the German state Baden-Wuerttemberg in 2011. The incumbent rightwing government was replaced by a leftwing government led by the Green party. We use the synthetic control method to select control states against which Baden-Wuerttemberg’s outcomes can be compared. The results do not suggest that the Green government influenced macroeconomic outcomes. The Green government implemented education policies that caused comprehensive schools to become larger. We find no evidence that the Green government influenced CO2 emissions or increased energy usage from renewable energies overall. An intriguing result is that the share of wind power usage decreased relative to the estimated counterfactual. Intra-ecological conflicts are likely to have prevented the Green government from implementing drastic changes in environmental policies.

JEL Classification: C330, D720, E650, H700, I210, Q480, Q580

Suggested Citation

Potrafke, Niklas and Wuthrich, Kaspar, Green Governments (2020). CESifo Working Paper No. 8726, Available at SSRN:

Niklas Potrafke (Contact Author)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679

Kaspar Wuthrich

University of California San Diego ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

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