Oberlin College and Conservatory

Who Joined the Pigou Club? A Talk by Soren Anderson

Friday, November 10, 2017 at 12:00pm

King Building, 341
10 North Professor Street, Oberlin, OH 44074

Who Joined the Pigou Club? A Postmortem Analysis of Washington State's Carbon Tax Initiative I-732", is a talk by Soren Anderson, associate professor in the Department of Economics & Deparment of Agricultural, Food, and Resourse Economics atMichigan State University.

About the Presentation

I document the political life and death of Washington State's revenue-neutral carbon tax initiative (I-732). Voters roundly rejected I-732, with 41% voting for and 59% against. Precinct-level vote shares show two-thirds support among Democrats and virtually zero support among Republicans, while partisanship alone explains 80% of the variation in precinct-level vote shares.

Out-of-sample forecasts imply that no other state would have passed I-732. Polling data suggest that the framing the policy in terms of “fighting climate change” likely gained many Democrats but lost at least as many Republicans. Less clear is the role played by elites: while many elected officials in the Democratic party supported I-732, the state Democratic party and leading environmental groups all opposed.

A review of the opinion polling literature on climate suggests several strategies for boosting public support for a carbon tax.

About the Presenter

Soren Anderson joined MSU in 2008 and holds joint appointments in the Department of Economics and the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics. He holds a PD in economics from the University of Michigan and a BA in economics from Macalester College.

He studies a range of issues in energy and environmental economics, with a focus on markets for automobiles and the fuels they use, including oil, gasoline, and biofuels. He is appointed as a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and he serves on the Editorial Board at the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

He previously served as a visiting researcher at the Energy Institute at Haas at UC Berkeley, as a staff economist with the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and as a research assistant at Resources for the Future.

Sponsored by the Department of Economics Danforth-Lewis Speakers Series.

Event Type



Academic, Economics



Contact Person

Terri Pleska, Administrative Assistant

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