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The principal–agent model with multilateral externalities: An application to climate agreements

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  • Helm, Carsten
  • Wirl, Franz

Abstract

We consider contracting of a principal with an agent if multilateral externalities are present. The motivating example is that of an international climate agreement given private information about the willingness-to-pay (WTP) for emissions abatement. Due to multilateral externalities the principal uses her own emissions besides subsidies to incentivize the agent and to assure his participation. Optimal contracts equalize marginal abatement costs and, thus, can be implemented by a system of competitive permit trading. Moreover, optimal contracts can include a boundary part (i.e., the endogenous, type dependent participation constraint is binding), which is not a copy of the outside option of no contract. Compared to this outside option, a contract can increase emissions of the principal for types with a low WTP, and reduce her payoff for high types. Subsidies can be constant or even decreasing in emission reductions, and turn negative so that the agent reduces emissions and pays the principal.

Suggested Citation

  • Helm, Carsten & Wirl, Franz, 2014. "The principal–agent model with multilateral externalities: An application to climate agreements," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 141-154.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:67:y:2014:i:2:p:141-154
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2013.11.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Carsten Helm & Franz Wirl, 2016. "Climate Policies with Private Information: The Case for Unilateral Action," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 893-916.
    2. François Castonguay & Pierre Lasserre, 2016. "Resource Agency Relationship with Privately Known Exploration and Extraction Costs," CIRANO Working Papers 2016s-56, CIRANO.
    3. Alejandro Caparrós, 2016. "Bargaining and International Environmental Agreements," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 65(1), pages 5-31, September.
    4. Habla, Wolfgang & Winkler, Ralph, 2015. "Strategic Delegation and Non-cooperative International Permit Markets," Working Papers in Economics 636, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    5. Kai A. Konrad & Marcel Thum, 2018. "Does a Clean Development Mechanism Facilitate International Environmental Agreements?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 69(4), pages 837-851, April.
    6. Helm, Carsten & Wirl, Franz, 2016. "Multilateral externalities: Contracts with private information either about costs or benefits," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 27-31.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Private information; Multilateral externalities; Mechanism design; Environmental agreements; Type-dependent outside options;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods

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