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Do natural disasters help the environment? How voters respond and what that means


Baccini, Leonardo; Leemann, Lucas (2021). Do natural disasters help the environment? How voters respond and what that means. Political Science Research and Methods, 9(3):468-484.

Abstract

This paper examines whether voters’ experience of extreme weather events such as flooding increases voting in favor of climate protection measures. While the large majority of individuals do not hold consistent opinions on climate issues, we argue that the experience of natural disasters can prime voters on climate change and affect political behavior. Using micro-level geospatial data on natural disasters, we exploit referendum votes in Switzerland, which allows us to obtain a behavioral rather than attitudinal measure of support for policies tackling climate change. Our findings indicate a sizeable effect for pro-climate voting after experiencing a flood: vote-share supporting pro-climate policies can increase by 20 percent. Our findings contribute to the literature exploring the impact of local conditions on electoral behavior.

Abstract

This paper examines whether voters’ experience of extreme weather events such as flooding increases voting in favor of climate protection measures. While the large majority of individuals do not hold consistent opinions on climate issues, we argue that the experience of natural disasters can prime voters on climate change and affect political behavior. Using micro-level geospatial data on natural disasters, we exploit referendum votes in Switzerland, which allows us to obtain a behavioral rather than attitudinal measure of support for policies tackling climate change. Our findings indicate a sizeable effect for pro-climate voting after experiencing a flood: vote-share supporting pro-climate policies can increase by 20 percent. Our findings contribute to the literature exploring the impact of local conditions on electoral behavior.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Social Sciences & Humanities > Political Science and International Relations
Uncontrolled Keywords:comparative politics, political behavior, political institutions, political economy, political psychology
Language:English
Date:1 July 2021
Deposited On:11 Jan 2021 09:21
Last Modified:24 Apr 2024 01:49
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:2049-8470
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/psrm.2020.25
  • Content: Accepted Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)