Research Article

Environmental Economics and Policy Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 23-34

First online:

How do electoral competition and special interests shape the stringency of renewable energy standards?

  • Johannes UrpelainenAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, Columbia University Email author 

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In this article, I provide a new political rationale for stringent renewable energy standards, such as portfolio requirements and feed-in tariffs. A game-theoretic analysis demonstrates that if a green politician (concerned about environmental quality) adopts a stringent renewable energy standard, thus creating artificial profits for the renewables industry, she can induce the industry to support her in elections. This political mobilization improves the green politician’s electoral fortunes, and thus increases the probability that the renewable energy standard will be implemented. In contrast to previous arguments for renewable energy standards, my argument applies even when the renewables industry is disorganized at the time of environmental policy formation.


Renewable energy Special interests Policy instruments Game theory Political economy

JEL Classification

L50 Q54 Q58