Political leaders with professional background in business and climate outcomes

Luis Diaz-serrano, Giorgos Kallis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The literature on how the ideology of political parties in power correlates with climate policy outcomes is abundant, but there is no similar literature for the individual characteristics of government leaders. This assessment is the first study of its kind, building on a dataset of government leaders of OECD countries for the period 1992–2017. We find that national presidents or prime ministers with a professional background in business are strongly correlated with bad climate mitigation outcomes. In particular, higher emissions and lower renewable energy deployment are more likely to occur during the tenure of former business people. Our results suggest that voters and pressure groups should pay attention to candidates’ professional backgrounds, in addition to their party’s ideology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Number of pages20
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • Business
  • Carbon emissions
  • Political leaders
  • Renewable energy

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