Party Polarization: Congressional Divergence on Environmental Policy from 1970-2008
Type of Degreethesis
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We investigate empirically the importance of a conjectured linkage between economic conditions and increasing party divergence with respect to national-level environmental policy in the United States. Using data from 1970-2008, we find that increases in the rate of unemployment are associated with increases in divergence between the two parties with respect to voting on environmental legislation; a result that is consistent for both the House and Senate. We also report evidence of a positive relationship between party divergence on environmental legislation and real per capita income. We fail to observe evidence of a statistically significant relationship between the rate of inflation and divergence on environmental voting.