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International Cooperation Behind the Veil of Uncertainty – The Case of Transboundary Acidification

  • Carsten Helm

    ()

The complexities of international environmental problems are only poorly understood. Hence, decision makers have to negotiate about abatement measures even though they do not know the 'true' model of the ecological system and have only a rough idea about the costs and benefits of their action. It will be analysed to what extent this kind of 'model uncertainty' – where players do not only have incomplete information about the payoff functions of the other players, but also about their own payoff function – affects the prospects of international cooperation. Using a simple game-theoretic model, it is shown how countries can use the veil of uncertainty to hide their distributional interests. The arguments are based on a deviation from the common prior assumption, which seems particularly questionable in a setting comprising various countries with different cultural and scientific backgrounds. Finally the model will prove useful to quantitatively and qualitatively illustrate the central role of model uncertainty in the negotiations of the first Sulphur Protocol signed to combat transboundary acidification. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1023/A:1008215711692
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Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 12 (1998)
Issue (Month): 2 (September)
Pages: 185-201

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:12:y:1998:i:2:p:185-201
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  1. Arrow, Kenneth J & Lind, Robert C, 1970. "Uncertainty and the Evaluation of Public Investment Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 364-78, June.
  2. R. Aumann, 2010. "Correlated Equilibrium as an expression of Bayesian Rationality," Levine's Bibliography 513, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Gough, C. A. & Bailey, P. D. & Biewald, B. & Kuylenstierna, J. C. I. & Chadwick, M. J., 1994. "Environmentally targeted objectives for reducing acidification in Europe," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(12), pages 1055-1066, December.
  4. Arrow, Kenneth J & Fisher, Anthony C, 1974. "Environmental Preservation, Uncertainty, and Irreversibility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 312-19, May.
  5. Frankel, Jeffrey A & Rockett, Katharine E, 1988. "International Macroeconomic Policy Coordination When Policymakers Do Not Agree on the True Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 318-40, June.
  6. Henk Folmer & Pierre Mouche & Shannon Ragland, 1993. "Interconnected games and international environmental problems," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(4), pages 313-335, August.
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