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Incentives to participate in an international environmental agreement

  • Michael Hoel
  • Kerstin Schneider

For international environmental problems involving many countries, such as, e.g., the climate problem, it is unlikely that all countries will participate in an international environmental agreement. If some countries commit themselves to cooperate, while the remaining countries act independently and in pure self-interest, it appears to be possible to achieve a Pareto improvement if the non-signatory countries reduce their emissions, in exchange for transfers from the countries which sign an agreement. However, the paper shows that the prospect of receiving a transfer for reducing one's emissions provided the country does not commit itself to cooperation, tends to reduce the incentive a country might have to commit itself to cooperation. Moreover, if the disincentive effect of such side payments is strong, total emissions will be higher in a situation with side payments than in a situation in which the signatory countries commit themselves to not give transfers to free riding countries. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

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

Volume (Year): 9 (1997)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 153-170

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:9:y:1997:i:2:p:153-170
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  1. Barrett, Scott, 1994. "Self-Enforcing International Environmental Agreements," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 878-94, Supplemen.
  2. Carraro, Carlo & Siniscalco, Domenico, 1991. "Strategies for the International Protection of the Environment," CEPR Discussion Papers 568, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Torvanger, A., 1993. "Efficient Contracts in a Game of Nations Pursuing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Abatement," Memorandum 03/1993, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  4. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  5. Michael Hoel, 1992. "International environment conventions: The case of uniform reductions of emissions," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(2), pages 141-159, March.
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