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IP 7 (Phase I): Democratic structures and processes and the provision of public goods

It is being argued that, nowadays, globalization, increased functional differentiation and cultural fragmentation might contribute to the heterogeneity of states and thus hamper their ability to extract the resources necessary to provide public goods. Moreover, the fact that political processes frequently take place in networks comprised by technocrats, experts, representatives of interest groups and lobbyists, and outside the parliamentary arena creates problems of input-oriented legitimacy and might lead to sub-optimal policy outcomes creating thus problems of output-oriented legitimacy.

The project focused on the evaluation of the policy outputs of democratic political systems. In particular, it examined whether democratic structures and processes (input) contribute or hamper the provision of a particular public good, namely, environmental quality (output), controlling for the influence of economic and other non-political variables. The project examined:

  • whether democracies are superior to other types of political systems (autocracies) in providing environmental quality (air quality, water quality, land protection)
  • which specific elements (structures and/or processes) of democratic systems contribute to or hinder environmental performance, and
  • how globalization, international organizations and regimes, and supranational political structures (e.g. the EU) affect the environmental performance of individual democratic nation-states.
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Project leader:
Prof. Vally Koubi, University of Bern

Project member:
Prof. Thomas Bernauer, ETH Zurich

Doctoral students:
Anna Kalbhenn, ETH Zurich
Gabi Ruoff, ETH Zurich