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How do pocketbook and distributional concerns affect citizens’ preferences for carbon taxation?

Beiser-McGrath, Liam ORCID: 0000-0001-9745-0320 and Bernauer, Thomas (2023) How do pocketbook and distributional concerns affect citizens’ preferences for carbon taxation? Journal of Politics. ISSN 0022-3816 (In Press)

[img] Text (Beiser-McGrath_how-do-pocketbook--accepted) - Accepted Version
Pending embargo until 1 January 2100.

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Identification Number: 10.1086/727594


We shed new light on a long-standing question in political science: when confronted with costly policy-choices, do citizens form their preferences based on material (economic) concerns or other-regarding motivations, such as the distribution of costs, and how these are moderated by political ideology. Using the case of carbon taxation, a widely advocated policy solution to climate change, we conducted survey experiments in Germany and the United States to assess the relative importance of these forms of preferences. The results show that individuals are primarily concerned with how a carbon tax would impact their individual income. There are also important cross-national differences with high-income German respondents being more receptive to redistributive policy design, especially in contrast to high-income Democrats who significantly decrease support for carbon taxation. These findings highlight how the constituencies generated by new policies can significantly alter the distribution of mass support for action upon emerging societal problems.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 Southern Political Science Association
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
JEL classification: Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q5 - Environmental Economics > Q50 - General
H - Public Economics > H2 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue > H23 - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2023 10:27
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2024 09:24

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