Global Renewable Electricity Policy: A Comparative Policy Analysis of Countries by Income Status

Elizabeth Baldwin, Sanya Carley, Jennifer N. Brass, Lauren M. MacLean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Although the drivers of renewable electricity (RE) are well-established among Western high-income countries, little is known about the factors that encourage RE development elsewhere. This paper analyzes an unprecedented, original dataset of 149 countries from 1990 to 2010 to compare the policy instruments and other factors that influence RE adoption across low-, middle-, and high-income countries. We find the factors driving RE development vary both across income group and between hydroelectric and non-hydro generation. Most notably for environmental concerns, non-hydroelectric RE generation is driven by feed-in-tariffs and renewable portfolio standards in high-income countries, feed-in tariffs alone in middle-income countries, and by subsidies in low-income countries. Non-policy drivers of RE also vary by country income level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-298
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 27 2017


  • comparative policy
  • cross-national policy analysis
  • developing countries
  • feed-in-tariff
  • high-income
  • low-income
  • middle-income
  • renewable electricity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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