A Herd Mentality in the Design of International Environmental Agreements?
AbstractWhen addressing an externality such as air pollution, regulators can control policy inputs (e.g., pollution taxes and technology standards) or outputs (e.g., emission caps). Economists are familiar with this debate, known broadly as "prices vs. quantities," but analysts of international environmental agreements have rarely focused sustained attention to such questions. Using an inventory of all international air pollution agreements, we document the historical patterns in instrument choice. Those agreements that require little effort beyond the status quo are usually codified in terms of effort, but agreements that require substantial actions by the parties nearly always deploy a cap on emission quantities as the central regulatory instrument. We suggest that this concentration of experience with emission caps and paucity of serious efforts to coordinate policy inputs may explain why the architects of international environmental agreements appear to believe that emission caps work best. We illustrate what's at stake with the example of international efforts to control the emissions that cause global climate change. We also show that the conventional history of the agreement that is most symbolic of the superiority of emission caps-the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer-has wrongly overlooked a little-known provision that operates akin to a "price" instrument. Copyright (c) 2005 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by MIT Press in its journal Global Environmental Politics.
Volume (Year): 5 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Rolf Golombek & Michael Hoel, 2011.
"International Cooperation on Climate-friendly Technologies,"
Environmental & Resource Economics,
European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 49(4), pages 473-490, August.
- Rolf Golombek & Michael Hoel, 2009. "International Cooperation on Climate-Friendly Technologies," CESifo Working Paper Series 2677, CESifo Group Munich.
- Golombek, Rolf & Hoel, Michael, 2006. "Climate agreements: emission quotas versus technology policies," Memorandum 21/2006, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Karie Kirkpatrick).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.