Phillip Y. Lipscy (Stanford University) is Assistant Professor of Political Science and the Thomas Rohlen Center Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. His fields of research include international and comparative political economy, international security, and the politics of East Asia, particularly Japan. His research addresses a wide range of substantive topics such as international cooperation, the politics of energy, the politics of financial crises, the use of secrecy in international policy making, and the effect of domestic politics on trade. Lipscy obtained his PhD in political science at Harvard University. He received his MA in international policy studies and BA in economics and political science at Stanford University.
I propose a multiyear project on the comparative politics of energy policy and climate change. The politics of energy is reemerging as a major, substantive area of inquiry for political science after two decades of relative quiet. Energy issues are deeply intertwined with some of the most important policy issues of our time: 1. securing stable access to sustainable energy sources and utilizing them in a responsible, sustainable manner; 2. managing the rise of emerging economies such as China and their seemingly insatiable energy needs; 3. mitigating the emission of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants that contribute to climate change and global warming. Despite the importance of these issues, political scientists have largely neglected the politics of energy since the 1980s. This project seeks to fill this lacuna by examining the politics of energy through the application of contemporary theories and methods from the field of international and comparative political economy. In particular, my project will examine the politics of energy demand and supply management. That is, what are the political determinants and consequences of different arrangements governing the procurement and use of natural resources and other sources of energy? I will focus primarily on advanced industrialized states, namely the United States, Japan, and European states, but also on developing countries that are emerging as major consumers of energy, such as China and India. In my existing work, I have examined variation in interest group preferences and the role that political institutions, particularly electoral rules, play in enabling or inhibiting energy efficiency policies among countries. As an Abe Fellow, I will build on this work by expanding the scope of the research to encompass a greater range of political institutions. I will pay particular attention to the role of bureaucratic agencies, the effectiveness of centralized and decentralized government institutions, and the interaction between domestic and international institutions. The Abe Fellowship will also allow me to extend my existing research, which focuses primarily on the transportation sector in OECD countries, to a wider range of sectors and countries. My project will investigate the political economy of energy through two principal strategies: 1. quantitative analysis of cross-national data on energy outcomes and political economic correlates; 2. detailed case studies of specific mechanisms that contribute to variations in policies and outcomes. The combination of these strategies will allow me to derive generalizable conclusions from a broad sample of countries but also examine micro-level processes that are difficult to capture from aggregated data. The results of the project will be organized into a book manuscript, which will be submitted to a major university press, and I will also submit the findings to academic journals in the fields of political science and energy and environmental studies. In order to increase the impact of the project on policymaking, I will also submit related work to policy journals and newspapers as opportunities arise.