This paper seeks to contribute to existing debates on the relationship between democracy and environmental quality. More specifically, we aim to provide nuance and insight into the question as to whether democratic regimes are better equipped to protect the environment. After critically reviewing theoretical arguments and providing an overview of existing empirical studies, the paper proposes an approach which consists of the use of non-parametric correlations between democracy and environmental quality, and a consideration of the interactions between democracy, government effectiveness, economic prosperity, and perceptions of corruption. Crucially, we show that, although a positive correlation can be found between levels of democracy and environmental quality, the picture is somewhat blurred if data are stratified using criteria such as government effectiveness and corruption perceptions. Consequently, the main argument the paper pursues is that, to assess the relationship between democracy and environmental quality, intervening factors and their effects need to be acknowledged and taken into account.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited