Malapportionment and Gasoline

by Erik Voeten on February 3, 2010

in Political Economy

Among the many interesting papers presented at the PEIO conference last week was a paper by Lawrence Broz and Daniel Maliniak on the effect of malapportionment on gasoline taxes and support for climate change policies. Malappportionment results in the overrepresentation of rural voters in political systems. The U.S. system (especially the Senate) is unusually bad in this regard but many electoral systems around the world have this effect. Compared to urban voters, rural voters in industrialized countries drive more and thus have a greater preference for low gasoline taxes. Broz and Maliniak show that gasoline prices are indeed lower when rural voters are overrepresented. Moreover, they show that rural overrepresentation lessens support for the Kyoto Treaty. Here is the full paper.

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