Proportional representation and the environment

As the research below shows, proportional representation is associated with better environmental outcomes. It’s about a diversity of voices, cooperative decision making, and long term thinking.

* Frederiksson (2004) found that countries with proportional systems set stricter environmental policies.

* Cohen (2010) found that countries with proportional systems were faster to ratify the Kyoto protocol, and that their share of world total carbon emissions had declined.

* In Lijphart’s second edition (2012) of his groundbreaking work on electoral systems and democracy in 36 countries over 25 years, he found that countries with proportional systems scored six points higher on the Yale Environmental Performance Index, which measures ten policy areas, including environmental health, air quality, resource management, biodiversity and habitat, forestry, fisheries, agriculture and climate change.

*Using data from the International Energy Agency, Orellana (2014), in his book “Electoral Systems and Governance: How Diversity Can Improve Policy Making”, found that between 1990 and 2007, when carbon emissions were rising everywhere, the statistically predicted increase was significantly lower in countries with fully proportional systems, at 9.5%, compared to 45.5% in countries using winner-take-all systems. Orellana also found that citizens in countries with proportional representation were more supportive of environmental action, and more willing to pay the costs associated with environmental protection. He found the use of renewable energy to be approximately 117 percent higher in countries with fully proportional electoral systems.

In sum, countries with proportional systems tend to act more quickly and do more to protect the environment.

Read more Evidence for PR here.

References

Cohen, Darcie (2010). Do Political Preconditions Affect Environmental Outcomes? Exploring the Linkages Between Proportional Representation, Green parties and the Kyoto Protocol. Simon Fraser University.

Fredriksson, P. G. and Millimet, D. L. (2004). “Electoral rules and environmental policy.” Economics Letters, 84(2), pp. 237–44.

Lijphart, Arend (2012). Patterns of Democracy. Government Forms and Performance in 36 CountriesNew Haven, CT: Yale Press.Lijphart, Arend (2012). Patterns of Democracy. Government Forms and Performance in 36 CountriesNew Haven, CT: Yale Press.

Orellana, Salomon (2014). Electoral Systems and Governance: How Diversity Can Improve Policy Making.New York: Routledge Press (summarized by FVC: http://tinyurl.com/gmjtg2t).

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