Demand for Environmental Goods: Evidence from Voting Patterns on California Initiatives

Kahn, Matthew E.; Matsusaka, John G.

This paper studies voting behavior on 16 environmental ballot propositions in California in order to characterize the demand for environmental goods. The environment is found to be a normal good for people with mean incomes, but some environmental goods are inferior for people with high incomes, at least when supplied collectively. An important "price" of environmental goods is reduced income in the construction, farming, forestry, and manufacturing industries. In most cases, income and price can explain most of the variation in voting; it is not essential to introduce non-economic concepts such as ideology and politics.

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Department of Economics, Columbia University
Department of Economics Discussion Papers, 737
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March 2, 2011


August 1995