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Current projects

“Climate Change and the Prospects for Economic Growth: How Extreme Weather Events affect Regime Stability” (2017-2020)

Project leader: Martin Sjöstedt
Participating researchers: Sverker C. Jagers, Aksel Sundström and Pelle Ahlerup.
Funding: Swedish Research Council, 8 million SEK.

The overall objective of this project is to investigate how the prospects for economic growth are affected by climate change. While the set of mechanisms through which climate change may influence economic performance is extremely large and difficult to assess comprehensively, this particular project focuses on the effects of climate change on a factor said to be crucial for the economic growth of a country, namely regime stability. Regime stability – defined as the absence of irregular and unconstitutional transfers of government – has been shown to affect economic growth by reducing uncertainty and stimulating economic exchange. As such, regime stability is generally considered to be one of the fundamental prerequisites for economic growth. However, given ongoing and future climate change, this fundamental condition may become increasingly challenged. More specifically, as climate change is predicted to increase the likelihood of extreme weather events and resource scarcity, there is increasing concern about the effects on political stability. Yet, although such concerns are common, there is a substantial lack of research investigating this relationship empirically. This project, however, sets out to fill this gap. This is done through large-N analyses where we use unique data on patterns of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) over the years 1950-2008 together with detailed data on trends in both leadership tenure and government turnover.

“Corruption and Wildlife Management: The Logics of Collective Action in Transnationally Protected Reserves” (2016-2019)

Project leader: Sverker C. Jagers
Participating researchers: Martin Sjöstedt, Aksel Sundström
Funding: the Swedish Research Council, 6 million SEK

With the point of departure in theories about how institutions affect resource use, this project focuses on the causes and effects of corruption in wildlife management. While there is a growing consensus about the detrimental effects of corruption on wildlife management at the local and national levels, there is less knowledge about how varying national levels of corruption affect the governance of transnationally protected areas. Specifically, we focus on two protected areas in sub-Saharan Africa, managed by countries with contrasting levels of corruption. We set out to investigate how actors within these systems respond to the mixed institutional signals in such systems. Hence, the design allows for comparisons of the effects of corruption on wildlife management, but also for a theoretically driven examination of how the workings of institutional arrangements differ between corrupt and the less corrupt contexts.

“Corruption in Natural Resource Management: Advancing Knowledge about Bribes and the Failure of Environmental Regulations” (2017-2018)

Project leader: Aksel Sundström

Funding: Swedish Research Council, 1,6 million SEK

“Governing Sustainability: Exploring motivational and contextual mechanisms behind public support for environmental policy measures – an experimental and comparative approach” (2015 -- )

Participating researchers: Simon Matti, Niklas Harring, Sverker Jagers, Andreas Nilsson, Johan Martinsson
Funding: Swedish Research Council, 6 million SEK

We suggest an experimental design for forwarding knowledge on a highly topical and theoretically curious issue: situations where collective action does not voluntary arise and where public attitudes towards third-party attempts to govern individual behavior therefore come to the fore. The overall aim of the project is to explore and further understand the interplay between contextual and motivational mechanisms behind public support for governmental behavioral interventions and the implementation of policy instruments. We do so in the context of a high profile, large-scale collective action problem: global climate change. To this end, the project contributes to research on collective action in general, and policy support in particular, in several important ways: First, a country-comparative approach allows us to examine the importance of political context, in particular variations in quality of government, and how it might condition the conclusions from earlier studies focusing motivational factors on the individual level. Second, we hypothesize that the level of interpersonal, institutional and political trust affects policy support both directly and indirectly, foremost through the perceived effectiveness and fairness of the measure. Third, using web-based survey experiments as our methodological approach allow both for in-depth analyses of causality and interactions, and for explore how levels of support vary between and across different policy measures and packages.

Pollution-based climate justice: sources, thresholds, and patterns (2015--)

Participating reserachers: Göran Duus-Otterström
Funding: The Swedish research council, 1,416,000 SEK, granted in November 2015

At the core of global climate change politics is a question of international distributive justice: how should the burden of combating climate change be allocated between countries? Many are convinced that the answer is, at least in large part, given by the Polluter Pays Principle (PPP), which says that the burdens should stand in proportion to countries’ past and present emissions of greenhouse gases. This project investigates a set of puzzles facing PPP which have yet to be solved in the climate justice literature. First, which method should we employ in accounting for countries’ emissions? Should we
count emissions where goods and serviced are produced, or should we count them where goods and services are consumed? Second, how should we define subsistence emissions, that is, emissions that countries may lay claim to as a matter of basic right? Should we define them along objectivist lines, using concepts such as human survival or a decent standard of living, or should we also employ subjectivist considerations such as whether it would be considered unreasonably onerous to give up on a certain source of emissions. Finally, once subsistence emissions are subtracted, how should the remaining rights to pollute be allocated between countries? Should they be allocated on an equal per
capita basis or on the basis of some other principle? Using normative analysis, the project seeks to answer these questions in a systematic way. The aim of the project is to advance our understanding of PPP as well as to shed light on key questions in climate policy more generally. Climate change is one of the foremost problems of our time, and its management calls for solutions that are not only effective but also just. The results of the project contribute to our understanding of the key questions involved in allocating the international costs of combating climate change. The project is planned to run 2016-2017.

The Psychology of Scarcity and Abundance (2014–2018)

Project leader: Lars-Olof Johansson (Dept. of Psychology)
Participating researchers: Mathias Zannakis (Political science), Sverker Molander (Chalmers University of Technology), Gró Einarsdottir and André Hansla (Psychology).
Funding: The Swedish Research Council, 6,975 Million SEK, granted in October 2013.

Long-term growth requires that the economic resources are efficiently managed and that ecological and social resources can be sustained. Realistic policy calls for a deeper knowledge about underlying psychological processes. In this interdisciplinary project we study the mechanisms behind evaluations of resource availability, assuming that resources can be social and psychological as well as economical. We will construct a framework drawing on theories of economic scarcity, reference points, time preferences, social deprivation, social justice, and policy acceptability. Based on a series of surveys and experiments we aim firstly, to investigate the factors that drive reactions to scarcity and abundance with the purpose of arriving at a theoretical model that encompasses the most important types of resources and the most salient comparisons that people make when forming a perception marked by scarcity or abundance, and secondly, to use this model as a base for investigating how to design future economic and environmental policies as well as how to best communicate and implement such policies. The societal value of the project should be seen in the light of predicted social and environmental problems in the aftermath of global warming, supply shortages, financial crisis, austerity measures, and soaring unemployment figures. Knowing how, why, and under what conditions, people react to such changes is absolutely vital for designing realistic policies in the coming decades.

Development at Risk – Investigating the Institutional Sources of Resilience and Successful Adaptation to Climate Change (2010–)

Project leader: Martin Sjöstedt
Participating researchers: Anna Persson
Funding: The Swedish Research Council, 3,816 Million SEK, granted in November 2009

This project focuses on institutions and adaptation to climate change. The overall objective is to explore how various institutional factors affect resilience and adaptive capacities in developing countries. More specifically, the project adds to this knowledge by conducting a systematic, comparative study of the mediating impact of a number of institutional factors when it comes to the degree to which physical exposure to natural disasters actually translate into real disasters.

The Ecological Citizen (2007–)

Project leader: Sverker C. Jagers
Participating researchers: Johan Martinsson
Funding: The Swedish Research Council, 3.2 Million SEK, granted in November 2006

The project investigates and tests the empirical relevance of the theory of 'ecological citizenship'. The ambition is to analyze whether the view on the scope of citizenship and the responsibility of individual citizens is an important factor or not in changing people’s behavior in an ecologically sound direction.


Page Manager: Webbredaktionen|Last update: 12/27/2016

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