A weakness in the writing about green growth is inattention to governance. This chapter explores the evidence on the role of governance factors on ecological performance among countries. Although some critics doubt the ability of democratic systems to respond to difficult and complex ecological problems like climate change or ecosystem degradation, there are practical and normative reasons to seek more rather than less democracy. Specific institutional factors (federalist versus unitary or parliamentary versus separation of powers) may affect national performance. More influential in supporting effective ecological governance—and by extension a capacity for green growth—is the ability in a political system to build consensus on issues, integrate across policy sectors, and find positive relationships among ecological and economic goals. These lessons are applied to an analysis of the United States in later chapters.
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