Constrained but Not Contained: How National Context Shapes Corporate Emissions 

Annika Rieger, Sociology, Boston College
Environment and Society, Environmental Policy
Keywords - corporations, climate change, civil society, nation-states

Despite their outsized contributions to the climate crisis, corporations have been understudied regarding their role in bringing about climate change. A better understanding of the national drivers of corporate emissions can help target policies to maximize their effectiveness. In my dissertation, I aim to examine the relationship between the “macro-level” of the nation-state and the “meso level” of the corporation: under which conditions do nation-states influence corporations to reduce their emissions? To answer this question, I will use multilevel models, testing the association between macro and meso-level variables using longitudinal data on corporate emissions. In the first paper, I focus on national characteristics and institutions, applying both the Varieties of Capitalism and Fossil Capitalism theories. The former suggests that Coordinated Market Economies, where the government has greater control over, and connections to, corporations, will be more successful in mitigating emissions. The latter suggests that nations with greater reliance on fossil fuels will be less likely to mitigate emissions. In the second paper, I focus on non-state actors and the intersection of civil society and economic hierarchy, applying both World Society and World Systems theories. When taken together, these two theories suggest that nations that are highly integrated into international civil society will be most successful in mitigating emissions, but that the economic position of those nations can temper or strengthen the association. By testing these theories, and their ability to explain variation in corporate emissions, I aim to present a clearer picture of the nation-level factors influencing corporate environmental outcomes.