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Oil consumption has varied significantly among democracies, but scholars have not systematically studied the political determinants of this variation. We examine the effects of political institutions on a democratic country’s propensity to consume oil. We argue that, other things being equal, more centralized national political institutions facilitate the adoption of policies that lower oil intensity. Our primary focus is on the impact of veto players, but we also consider electoral systems, party organization, and legislative-executive relations separately. We evaluate our hypotheses with a TSCS analysis of all democracies since the first oil shock in 1973 (contingent on data availability), and we make use of an error correction model to separate short- and long-term effects and to correct for the non-stationarity of the dependent variable. We find strong support for the hypothesized link between numerous veto players and slower reductions in oil intensity as well as weaker support for the influence of party decentralization.


Accepted manuscript version of article published in:

Duffield, John S.; Hankla, Charles R. Comparative Politics, Volume 43, Number 2, January 2011, pp. 187-205(19).