International Development Presentation: Michael Ross

When: Friday, January 19th 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Where: 155B
Who: Michael L. Ross, UCLA

"Why do governments subsidize fossil fuels?"

Michael Ross (co-authors Cesar Martinez Alvarez, Chad Hazlett, and Paasha Mahdavi)

All governments either tax or subsidize the consumption of fossil fuels. These policies have far-reaching economic and environmental consequences, but governments often face strong political pressure to keep prices low. We use a new data set on monthly gasoline prices around the world to study the conditions under which governments change their gasoline subsidies. We focus on the 22 countries responsible for more than 95 percent of the world’s gasoline subsidies between 2003 and 2015. Our analysis suggests that many factors alleged to promote reform have little impact.  Reforms, while rare, became significantly rarer when elections are imminent.

Michael L. Ross is a Professor of Political Science at University of California Los Angeles and is affiliated with the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. He has published widely on the political and economic problems of resource-rich countries, energy politics, civil war, democracy, and gender rights. Ross is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Project on Resources, Governance, and Development; a Non-resident Fellow at the Center for Global Development; a member of the SSRC Working Group on Climate Change; a member of the advisory boards of the Natural Resources Governance Institute and Clean Trade; and a member of the Political Instability Task Force, the Multi Stakeholder Group of the US Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Thematic Group on "Good Governance of Extractive and Land Resources."