Democratic institutions and the energy intensity of well-being: a cross-national study

Democratic institutions and the energy intensity of well-being: a cross-national study Background: Energy consumption is necessary for human well-being, yet the growth of energy consumption also contributes to climate change and a range of negative externalities. Thus, a key sustainability challenge is to efficiently use energy consumption to promote human well-being. This manuscript contributes to the growing literature on the ecological intensity of well-being (EIWB) by modeling the relationship between democratic institutions and the energy intensity of well-being. Methods: We use international data to understand how democratic institutions—understood as a combination of elected legislature, elected executives, and democratic competition—impact the energy intensity of well-being. The energy intensity of well-being is an adjusted ratio of energy consumption and life expectancy. We combine random- intercept mixed-effect models with entropy balancing constraints to create covariate balance between democracies and non-democracies. Results: Contrary to our expectations, we find that consistently null results suggesting that democracies do not leverage their energy consumption to improve well-being more effectively than other systems of government. Democracy and its subcomponents do not appear to improve, or reduce, the energy intensity of well-being. Conclusions: Democracy does not appear to improve sustainability, operationalized as the energy intensity of well-being. On the other hand, democracies do not appear to do worse than http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Energy, Sustainability and Society Springer Journals

Democratic institutions and the energy intensity of well-being: a cross-national study

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Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by The Author(s).
Subject
Engineering; Renewable and Green Energy; Sustainable Development; Energy Economics; Energy Policy, Economics and Management
eISSN
2192-0567
D.O.I.
10.1186/s13705-017-0139-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Background: Energy consumption is necessary for human well-being, yet the growth of energy consumption also contributes to climate change and a range of negative externalities. Thus, a key sustainability challenge is to efficiently use energy consumption to promote human well-being. This manuscript contributes to the growing literature on the ecological intensity of well-being (EIWB) by modeling the relationship between democratic institutions and the energy intensity of well-being. Methods: We use international data to understand how democratic institutions—understood as a combination of elected legislature, elected executives, and democratic competition—impact the energy intensity of well-being. The energy intensity of well-being is an adjusted ratio of energy consumption and life expectancy. We combine random- intercept mixed-effect models with entropy balancing constraints to create covariate balance between democracies and non-democracies. Results: Contrary to our expectations, we find that consistently null results suggesting that democracies do not leverage their energy consumption to improve well-being more effectively than other systems of government. Democracy and its subcomponents do not appear to improve, or reduce, the energy intensity of well-being. Conclusions: Democracy does not appear to improve sustainability, operationalized as the energy intensity of well-being. On the other hand, democracies do not appear to do worse than

Journal

Energy, Sustainability and SocietySpringer Journals

Published: Dec 1, 2017

References

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