Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Evan Perkoski

Honors Major

Political Science


Comparative Politics | Environmental Studies | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Political Science


Climate change is here, yet even as states transition to green energy, oil remains supreme at both the international and national levels. Many nations around the world have based their economies on the production of fossil fuels, leaving these countries entrapped in the “resource curse,” often contributing to the development of autocratic regimes. As the world economy moves away from fossil fuels, these countries will be left with the question of how to transition to green energy sources. In this paper I examine how the approach to green energy implementation differs between autocracies and democracies. More specifically, I demonstrate the different tools these varying regime types have at their disposal for oil-reliant autocracies to transition to renewable energy sources. I find that autocracies are able to use their unilateral control to issue top-down directives for green energy policy and investment in a degree greater than that present in democracies, that they have a more streamlined process for deciding on green energy projects due to fewer veto players, and that they are able to reduce barriers to entry and in turn increase the implementation speeds of projects.