The Political Consequences of Green Policies: Evidence from Italy (Hybrid event)

05  October 2022    3:30 pm CEST

Italo Colantone, Bocconi University

In cooperation with:


On-site: wiiw, Rahlgasse 3, 1060 Vienna or Online: via Zoom


The presentation is based on a paper co-authored with Livio Di Lonardo, Yotam Margalit and Marco Percoco.

For many governments enacting green policies is a priority, but these often entail substantial and uneven costs on citizens. How does the introduction of green policies affect voting? We study this question in the context of a major ban on polluting cars introduced in Milan. The policy was strongly opposed by the right-wing populist party Lega, portraying it as a “radical-chic-leftist” initiative penalizing common people. We show that owners of banned vehicles—who incurred a median loss of €3,750—were significantly more likely to vote for Lega in the subsequent elections. This electoral shift does not stem from increased environmental skepticism, but rather from the perceived unfairness of the policy and its pocketbook implications. In fact, recipients of compensation from the local government were not more likely to switch to Lega. The findings underscore that addressing the distributive consequences is key for advancing green policies that are politically sustainable.

The presentation, when available, will be posted online after the event.

Registration link for on-site participation:

Registration link for online participation:

For participating in discussion at the Q&A session better, we highly recommend on-site particiaption.

Italo Colantone

Italo Colantone is Associate Professor of Economic Policy at Bocconi University, and a research fellow at the Baffi-Carefin Research Center and CESifo. Italo’s research focuses on international trade, political economics, and applied industrial organization. Italo’s work has been published in leading journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS), the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of International Economics, the Journal of Economic Geography, the Journal of Economic Perspectives, and the Journal of International Business Studies. Italo has participated in different European Research Framework Program projects, and he has served as a consultant for the OECD and private companies. Italo is the director of the Bachelor in International Politics and Government (BIG) of Bocconi University.

Keywords: environmental politics, green policies, distributional consequences, compensation mechanisms

JEL classification: P100, D700, Q500