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Uncertainty, learning and international environmental policy coordination

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Author Info

  • Alistair Ulph
  • David Maddison

Abstract

In this paper we construct a simple model of global warming which captures a number of key features of the global warming problem: (i) environmental damages are related to the stock of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; (ii) the global commons nature of the problem means that these are strategic interactions between the emissions policies of the governments of individual nation states; (iii) there is uncertainty about the extent of the future damages that will be incurred by each country from any given level of concentration of greenhouse gases but there is the possibility that at a future date better information about the true extent of environmental damages may become available; an important aspect of the problem is the extent to which damages in different countries may be correlated. In the first part of the paper we consider a simple model with two symmetric countries and show that the value of perfect information is an increasing function of the correlation between damages in the two countries in both the cooperative and non-cooperative equilibria. However, while the value of perfect information is always non-negative in the cooperative equilibrium, in the non-cooperative equilibrium there is a critical value of the correlation coefficient below which the value of perfect information will be negative. In the second part of the paper we construct an empirical model of global warming distinguishing between OECD and non-OECD countries and show that in the non-cooperative equilibrium the value of perfect information for OECD countries is negative when the correlation coefficient between environmental damages for OECD and non-OECD countries is negative. The implications of these results for international agreements are discussed. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental & Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 9 (1997)
Issue (Month): 4 (June)
Pages: 451-466

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:9:y:1997:i:4:p:451-466

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100263

Related research

Keywords: global warming; uncertainty; learning; irreversibility; value of information; dynamic games; international agreements;

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References

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  1. Skinner, Jonathan, 1988. "Risky income, life cycle consumption, and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 237-255, September.
  2. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Optimal Consumption with Stochastic Income: Deviations from Certainty Equivalence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 275-98, May.
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  7. Kolstad, Charles D., 1996. "Fundamental irreversibilities in stock externalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 221-233, May.
  8. Ulph, A. & Ulph, D., 1994. "Who gains from learning about global warming," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9407, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  9. Neave, Edwin H., 1971. "Multiperiod consumption-investment decisions and risk preference," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 40-53, March.
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Citations

RePEc Biblio mentions

As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
  1. > Environmental and Natural Resource Economics > Climate economics > International agreements
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Cited by:
  1. Michael FinusAlistair Ulph & Alistair Ulph, 2013. "International Environmental Agreements with Uncertainty, Learning and Risk Aversion," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 1329, Economics, The University of Manchester.
  2. Dellink, Rob & Finus, Michael, 2012. "Uncertainty and climate treaties: Does ignorance pay?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 565-584.
  3. Baker, Erin, 2005. "Uncertainty and learning in a strategic environment: global climate change," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 19-40, January.
  4. Michael Finus & Pedro Pintassilgo & Alistair Ulph, 2014. "International Environmental Agreements with Uncertainty, Learning and Risk Aversion," CESifo Working Paper Series 4589, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Michael Toman, 1998. "Research Frontiers in the Economics of Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 603-621, April.
  6. Wietze Lise & Richard Tol, 2004. "Attainability of International Environmental Agreements as a Social Situation," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 253-277, September.
  7. Hwang, In Chang & Reynès, Frédéric & Tol, Richard S. J., 2011. "Climate Policy Under Fat-Tailed Risk: An Application of Dice," Papers WP403, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  8. Rob Dellink & Michael Finus & Niels Olieman, 2008. "The stability likelihood of an international climate agreement," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 39(4), pages 357-377, April.
  9. repec:ner:toulou:http://neeo.univ-tlse1.fr/1502/ is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Finus, Michael & Pintassilgo, Pedro, 2013. "The role of uncertainty and learning for the success of international climate agreements," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 29-43.
  11. Richard Tol, 2011. "Regulating knowledge monopolies: the case of the IPCC," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 108(4), pages 827-839, October.
  12. Sudhir A. Shah, 2004. "Allocations and manipulation in Kyoto type protocols," Working papers 125, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
  13. Charles Kolstad & Alistair Ulph, 2011. "Uncertainty, Learning and Heterogeneity in International Environmental Agreements," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 50(3), pages 389-403, November.
  14. Boucher, Vincent & Bramoullé, Yann, 2010. "Providing global public goods under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 591-603, October.
  15. Köke, Sonja & Lange, Andreas, 2013. "Negotiating Environmental Agreements under Ratification Uncertainty," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79952, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  16. Sudhir A. Shah, 2006. "A Non-Cooperative Theory Of Quantity-Rationing International Transfrontier Pollution," Working papers 143, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.

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