Comparative Political Economy and the Environment

Submission info:
Climate change and environmental sustainability are significant policy problems facing advanced capitalist democracies, yet comparative political economy has contributed little to research in this area. Organised around two broad themes, this mini-conference brings together scholars working at the intersection of comparative political economy and the environment to address key questions on business and energy and the comparative political economy of climate change policy, and to develop a research network for future collaboration.  We will prioritise contributions with sophisticated, comparative research designs that include innovative, well-developed and testable theory, grounded in the comparative political economy literature. We welcome both pure theoretical and rigorous empirical papers.
Business and energy
We are now in a long energy transition: the proportion of hydrocarbons as a part of the global energy mix is declining. However, fossil fuels still account for a large share of electricity generation.  A new body of work links long energy transitions to national institutions. Two major journals, Journal of International Business Studies and British Journal of Management, are running unprecedented parallel special issues on this question.
Building on this work, we call for submissions to address questions related to the following issues:

  *   Socio-economic institutions and the switch to renewable resources: how have publicly funded innovation systems influenced the risks associated with developing and deploying fossil-fuel and renewable-energy technologies in different locations?
  *   The consequences of the use or 'non-use' of renewable energy for different socio-economic groups: Does the switch to renewable energy affect the number of 'decent' jobs within countries? Does shale gas influence which sectors and firms investors back?
  *   Developments in energy supplies and the reinforcement of, or reduction in, institutional differences between countries: Does the greater use of shale gas reinforce the role of highly mobile investors and their prioritization of short-term financial rewards? Does switching to renewables complement the role of patient capital?
Comparative political economy of climate change policy
The adoption and stringency of climate change mitigation policies varies considerably across the advanced democracies. What explains this cross-national variation? Why do some countries do much to address climate change while others do little? Surprisingly, we know relatively little about the answers to these questions. We would, therefore, welcome contributions that seek to address the following themes:

  *   Political and economic institutions. What role do formal institutions play in influencing climate policy adoption and stringency - electoral rules, legislative rules, federalism, corporatism, varieties of capitalism, corporate governance, etc?
  *   Organised interests. What role do business and labour organisations play? NGOs?
  *   Politics of the long-term. Which factors influence politicians' willingness to invest in long-term policies that incur short-term costs on their constituents? Which factors lengthen business leaders' time horizons?
  *   Partisanship and the climate. Do parties matter in regards to climate policy?
  *   Electoral incentives. What effect do electoral competition, electoral accountability and electoral cycles have on climate policy?
  *   Political economy of policy instrument choice. Why do governments choose one policy instrument over another?
  *   Public opinion: Does public opinion matter for climate policy? Under what conditions?

Matthew Allen, Alliance Manchester Business School
Jared Finnegan, London School of Economics and Political Science
Geoff Wood, Essex Business School

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