Greener governments: Partisan ideologies, executive institutions, and environmental policies

Justin Leinaweaver, Robert Thomson

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Why do some governments have more environmentally friendly policies than others? Part of the answer involves governing parties’ ideological positions on environmentalism and the constraints imposed by executive institutions. Here, this party-based explanation is elaborated and tested with uniquely comparable indicators of national environmental policies for governments in 27 countries in the European Union (EU). The findings show that governments with parties that emphasized environmental protection in their manifestos are more likely to propose pro-environment policies during EU-level negotiations. However, the effect of ideology is mediated by the centralization of the national executive branch. In centralized national executives, the environmental positions of prime ministers’ parties affect policies, while in decentralized national executives, the positions of environment ministers’ parties are relevant. The findings have implications for understanding the impact of parties’ environmental positions on government policies, as well as for policy making in coalitions more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-660
Number of pages28
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • environmental policy
  • ideology
  • ministerial autonomy
  • European Union
  • political parties

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