Alexander Gard-Murray

Distributive Dynamics in Climate Policymaking

Who Pays to Save the Planet? Disaggregating Climate Politics to the Sector Level (working paper)

Climate politics are distributive politics. Mitigation policy can have widely varying effects on different parts of domestic economies. But much of the literature theorizes and quantifies mitigation as if it were nationally uniform. This paper provides a sector-level theory of mitigation stringency, and tests it using sector-level econometric estimates of the "shadow price" of regulation (Althammer and Hille 2016). Beyond sectors' innate exposure to regulation, their ability to pass on costs to consumers and workers play a key role in shaping the stringency of policy applied to them. The results highlight the importance of analyzing climate politics at the sectoral level.

Presented at the American Political Science Association conference, San Francisco, CA, September 2017

Mitigating Mitigation: How Labor Protection Strengthens Climate Policy (working paper)

When political economy arrangements protect labor, are countries more or less likely to pass strong climate mitigation policy? Previous work has found contradictory results, but most studies focus on national measures of policy which do not capture the burden of policy on different groups. This paper helps to resolve this debate by using sector-level data on mitigation stringency. The results show that when labor is protected—by coordinating institutions, strong unions, and labor market interventions—labor-intense sectors are willing to accept higher climate policy burdens.

Presented at the Western Political Science Association conference, San Diego, CA, April 2019

Conditional Representation: Party Ideology and Climate Policy Strength (working paper)

Do left-wing governments do more for the environment than right-wing ones? The evidence of previous work has been inconclusive. This paper argues that climate change is characterized by "conditional representation," where parties are particularly concerned with the impact of policies on their own constituencies. Left parties protect labor-intense sectors, while right-parties protect capital-intense ones. This factor specificity of ideology helps explain the mixed findings of earlier work, and shows the conditions under which parties are more likely to promote climate change mitigation.

Public Opinion

How Sector of Employment Affects Support for Climate Policy (working paper)

Stringent mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions imposes costs on emissions-intense businesses. People who work for these businesses face potentially greater economic risks from mitigation. Yet despite the large literature on climate opinions, few studies explore how sector of employment shapes attitudes towards climate policy. Building on efforts by Tvinnereim and Ivarsflaten (2016) and Bechtel et al. (2017), this paper offers the first study of sectors and climate opinion across many countries. The results show that emissions-intensity not only reduces individuals' support for strong climate policy, but also reduces the importance of other factors like income, education, and ideology for explaining support.

Presented at the Environmental Politics and Governance conference, Santa Barbara, CA, July 2019

Severe Weather and Global Climate Opinion: A Natural Experiment with A. Hartnett (working paper)

As climate impacts intensify, they may drive more concern about the problem and support for action. There is a growing body of research on the relationship between weather and climate opinion, but it tends to be focused on the United States and other wealthy countries. We analyze a natural experiment, exploiting variation in the timing of interviews and the location of respondents in surveys of Latin America, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. We combine these surveys with spatially disaggregated information on weather and natural disasters. These data allow us to test whether weather intensifies concern globally, as well as whether the factors that matter in developing countries differ systematically from those in developed ones.

Computational Text Analysis

Climate Discourse and Campaign Contributions in US Congressional Hearings with F. Krawatzek (working paper)

What is the monetary value of the words said in the US Congress? How much does it cost to shift a legislator’s discourse? We explore these questions and study the extent to which individual donations to members in the US Congress shift the way these legislators speak in congressional hearings. Our analysis uses a structural topic model (Roberts et al. 2014) to identify the themes which structure discussion in hearings. We identify the links between shifting topic use by individual legislators and the donations they receive from different kinds of donors. We verify the mechanism identified at the micro-level with a set of case studies.

Presented at the American Political Science Association conference, Boston, MA, September 2018

Community Adaptation in Response to Extreme Weather Events with L. Giordono, H. Boudet, & R. Nelson (working paper)

The experience of disaster does not always yield policy change. We pose two key research questions. First, to what degree to communities impacted by an extreme weather event propose and enact post-event policy change? Second, what conditions lead to policy change? We use a comparative case approach with 15 cases and fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis methods to address these questions. Our approach adds to the existing literature on policy change and local adaptation by selecting a mid-N range of cases with strong potential for acting as focusing events, therefore sidestepping the problem of selecting on the dependent variable. Our approach also takes advantage of a novel method for measuring attention, the Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) approach.

Presented at the International Conference on Public Policy, Montreal, Canada, June 2019

An Exploration of Social Identity: The Geography and Politics of News-Sharing Communities on Twitter with A. Herdağdelen, W. Zuo, & Y. Bar-Yam. Complexity 19(2), pp. 10-20, 2013.

We map the social, political, and geographic properties of a news-sharing community on Twitter. By tracking user-generated messages that contain links to New York Times articles and the follow relationships between their authors, we find that users cluster into three communities based around local, national, or global issues.

Civil Conflict

Good Fences: The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Peaceful Coexistence with A. Rutherford, D. Harmon, J. Werfel, S. Bar-Yam, A. Gros, R. Xulvi-Brunet, Y. Bar-Yam. PLoS ONE 9(5), 2014.

Complexity and the Limits of Revolution: What Will Happen to the Arab Spring? with Y. Bar-Yam. Conflict and Complexity: Countering Terrorism, Insurgency, Ethnic and Regional Violence, eds. P. Vos Fellman, Y. Bar-Yam, A.A. Minai (New York: Springer), 2015.

The Geography of Ethnic Violence with A. Rutherford, M. Lim, R. Metzler, D. Harmon, J. Werfel, S. Bar-Yam, A. Gros, Y. Bar-Yam. Conflict and Complexity: Countering Terrorism, Insurgency, Ethnic and Regional Violence, eds. P. Vos Fellman, Y. Bar-Yam, A.A. Minai (New York: Springer), 2015.

Conflict in Yemen: From Ethnic Fighting to Food Riots with A. Gros, A. Gard-Murray, Y. Bar-Yam. Conflict and Complexity: Countering Terrorism, Insurgency, Ethnic and Regional Violence, eds. P. Vos Fellman, Y. Bar-Yam, A.A. Minai (New York: Springer), 2015.