The influence of institutions, governance, and public opinion on the environment: Synthesized findings from applied econometrics studies

We synthesize the empirical contributions from the existing applied economics literature examining the influence of institutions and governance on environmental policy, environmental performance, and green investment. The literature on the influence of populism and public opinion on environmental policy adoption is also reviewed in line with the special issue. First, the paper describes how the relationship between institutions, environmental performance and environmental policy have been conceptualized and operationalized in the literature and summarizes the main findings. The second part of the paper outlines avenues for future research with specific attention to the energy transition and climate change literature. With respect to the positivist worldview adopted by this paper, we highlight various opportunities for empirical work that have recently emerged with the growing availability of data in the field of green investments, climate, and energy policy. Expanding the current empirical literature towards these research topics is of both scientific and policy relevance and can provide important insights on the broader field of sustainability transition and sustainable development. Regarding the alternative, non-positivist worldviews, future research could explore ways to connect the richer approaches such as complex adaptive systems and socio-technical transition studies with applied econometric methods, as well as future-oriented studies.

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