It is all about political incentives: democracy and the renewable feed-in tariff

Bayer, P. and Urpelainen, J. (2016) It is all about political incentives: democracy and the renewable feed-in tariff. Journal of Politics, 78(2), pp. 603-619. (doi:10.1086/684791)

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Abstract

Demand for renewable energy is booming. Scholars often attribute this success to feed-in tariffs (FITs), which mandate that energy utilities pay a premium to renewable electricity producers and guarantee grid access for them. Why have so many countries, including least developed ones, adopted these policies? We hypothesize that democratic governments have political incentives to adopt the FIT because it improves environmental quality, promotes rural development, and distributes electricity generation profits from large utilities to independent producers. We analyze global data on FIT adoption, 1990-2012, and find that the association between democratic regime type and FIT adoption overwhelms all other covariates. The effect is specific to the FIT and does not exist for renewable portfolio standards or public competitive bidding for renewable energy contracts. Consistent with theories of distributive politics, among democracies, institutional malapportionment in favor of rural political constituencies favors FIT adoption.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bayer, Dr Patrick
Authors: Bayer, P., and Urpelainen, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Journal of Politics
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
ISSN:0022-3816
ISSN (Online):1468-2508
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 University of Chicago Press
First Published:First published in Journal of Politics 78(2):603-619
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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