Exposure to international trade lowers green voting and worsens environmental attitudes
Charlotte Bez (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research); Valentina Bosetti (Bocconi University, RFF-CMCC European Institute of Economics and the Environment and Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change); Italo Colantone (Bocconi University, Baffi-Carefin Research Center, CESifo and Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Maurizio Zanardi (University of Surrey)
Nature Climate Change, 13, 1131–1135, October (2023)
From a political perspective, advancing green agendas in democracies requires obtaining electoral support for parties and candidates proposing green platforms. It is therefore crucial to understand the factors driving green voting and attitudes. Yet, limited research has explored the role of economic determinants in this context. In this study we show that globalization, through the distributional consequences of import competition, is an important determinant of support for parties proposing green platforms. Our analysis covers the United States and 15 countries of Western Europe, over the period 2000–2019, with trade exposure measured at the level of subnational geographic areas. We find that higher trade exposure leads to lower support for more environmentalist parties and to more sceptical attitudes about climate change. Our empirical findings are in line with the theoretical channel of deprioritization of environmental concerns, as trade-induced economic distress raises the salience of economic issues.