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The Problem of Global Environmental Protection


  • Barrett, Scott


What distinguishes global common property problems and global unidirectional externalities from the ones that arise under a single jurisdiction is that there is no global authority empowered to intervene and regulate use of global environmental resources. Cooperation is needed. The paper discusses when cooperation is most needed, and how it might be obtained. Cooperation might emerge from a noncooperative setting if supergames are played, if the actions of any one country are explicitly contingent on the actions undertaken by other countries, or if moral concerns lead countries to consider the consequences of their actions for others. Cooperation emerges in an explicit, though limited, form when countries commit to regulate themselves in signing international agreements. In these cases, the signatories cooperate but the agreements are self-enforcing. An attempt is made to relate these theoretical concepts to the practice of global environmental protection. Copyright 1990 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Barrett, Scott, 1990. "The Problem of Global Environmental Protection," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 68-79, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:6:y:1990:i:1:p:68-79

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    References listed on IDEAS

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