The Politics of Carbon Taxes at the State Level

This project looks at the Washington State carbon tax referendum through a nationally represented survey—delving into specific questions about what drives support of a carbon tax. The author explores:

  1. Which states and which electoral districts are most supportive of a carbon tax
  2. Whether pointing out that the carbon tax and dividend provides a universal basic income increases support for the policy—and whether the effect of linking a carbon tax to universal basic income is stronger for particular groups (e.g., liberals and progressives)
  3. What drives support for and opposition to a carbon tax, and a universal basic income
  4. Whether legislative behavior and district opinion on carbon taxes are aligned

Relevant research: Can Pigou at the Polls Stop the U.S. Melting the Poles?

Grant Result

The failure of Washington State’s carbon tax initiatives shows that American voters are not yet ready to take action. The carbon tax vote is highly ideological. Appealing to a broad progressive coalition may be the most effective path to a carbon tax in other liberal states.

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Ioana Marinescu

Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Ioana Marinescu is an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research.