DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION IN ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE A cross-country study on the environmental effects of equal citizen political participation
Sammanfattning: Previous research on countries’ environmental sustainability practices has amassed in conflicting results why some nation states perform better (or worse) than others. Some studies determine that it is the country’s level of development and quality of government that determines stringency in environmental regulation and policy, while others point to states’ level of democracy and quality of democratic principles as the main supporting pillars tosustainability. The previous literature is limited in its focus on specific environmental outcomes of central government quality and representative democracy and have overlooked aspects of democracy that concerns citizens as agents with the ability to shape environmental policy, thereby influencing environmental performance proximate to international targets of sustainability. By conducting a multivariate cross-sectional analysis of 127 country cases globally, this study has expanded the research on national environmental performance by investigating the effect of two aspects of democratic input: the participatory aspect of citizen political participation and the egalitarian aspect of citizen political equality. The results of this thesis’ multivariate regression point to that when accounting for egalitarian principles (citizenpolitical equality) and citizen (political) participation, they both positively affect states’ environmental performance, especially so when interacting with a higher level of quality of government. Although the study cannot prove causation, the significance of results implies that, for states to be able to conquer the challenges of environmental performance according to international targets, governments would benefit from empowering citizens politically and givethem space to directly participate in environmental policy processes.
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