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Participation and Duration of Environmental Agreements

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  • Marco Battaglini
  • Bård Harstad

Abstract

We analyze participation in international environmental agreements in a dynamic game in which countries pollute and invest in green technologies. If complete contracts are feasible, participants eliminate the holdup problem associated with their investments; however, most countries prefer to free ride rather than participate. If investments are noncontractible, countries face a holdup problem every time they negotiate; but the free-rider problem can be mitigated and significant participation is feasible. Participation becomes attractive because only large coalitions commit to long-term agreements that circumvent the holdup problem. Under well-specified conditions even the first-best outcome is possible when the contract is incomplete.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Battaglini & Bård Harstad, 2016. "Participation and Duration of Environmental Agreements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(1), pages 160-204.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/684478
    DOI: 10.1086/684478
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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