Political Rebound Effects as Stumbling Blocks for Socio-ecological Transition

by Karl Aiginger

While the extent to which management and owner interests in firms can diverge has been extensively researched, the discrepancy between the preferences of citizens and governmental response to these (or lack thereof) remains under- researched. It may lead to disruptive changes and the unexpected rise of populism that calls for new elites or a return to old values or both. The article begins with the fact that a clear majority of citizens dislike increasing inequality and would like governments to prevent climate catastrophes, ranging from droughts to global warming. Nevertheless, neither green parties nor parties that favour redistribution have been successful in most countries. Documentary policy analysis yields to explanations for this, which are probably interconnected: “political rebound effects” and the fear that inefficient governments might not solve the core problems while increasing the already high tax burden. These hypotheses can hopefully help focus the assessment of uprising populist movements and provide the basis for more empirical research. OLD to be deleted: While it is intensively researched how far interests between management and owners in firms can diverge, the discussion why differences between the preferences of citizens will not be implemented by governments even in the very long run is under researched. These differences then may lead to disruptive changes and the unexpected success of populism calling for new elites or to the return to old values or both. The article starts from the fact that a clear majority of citizens dislike rising inequality and would like governments to prevent climate catastrophes from droughts to global warming. Nevertheless neither green parties nor parties favouring redistribution are successful in most countries. Documentary policy analysis leads to two explanations which will probably work together: first by “political rebound effects” and secondly by the fear that inefficient governments may not solve the prime problems but only increase the already high tax burden. These hypotheses hopefully help to focus the assessment of uprising populist movements and are open to more empirical research.