Political Determinants of National Environmental Performance in the European Union
The extent to which certain elements of the political landscape affect the quality of the environment and contribute to the differences in national Environmental Performance (EP) is not well known and requires further investigation. The aim is to identify those elements of political nature which tend to affect a country’s EP. The main research method consists of an OLS regression analysis where the dependent variable is the Environmental Performance Index. The explanatory variables were selected to best gauge the political landscape and are drawn from three well established datasets. The main added value of the study consists in the proposal of a new political indicator that was proven to significantly impact national EP – the environmental preference of governmental parties corrected with the degree of effectiveness of the overall government. The reason why we chose to focus on governments is that these are the main agenda setters in the EU legislative decision making process. Our research shows that effective governments composed of parties with an environmental preference are successful in improving the national EP.
Keywords: environmental performance; effective government; political party; environmental policy; European Union; environmental preference