IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this book chapter

The theory of international environmental agreements

In: Handbook of Environmental Economics

Listed author(s):
  • Barrett, Scott
Registered author(s):

    This chapter presents the theory of international environmental agreements (IEAs). It explains what treaties do (or should do); when and why they succeed or fail; and whether they can be designed better. It focuses on the main questions that the literature on this topic has tried to answer, discusses the different methodological approaches that have been used, and shows how these approaches relate to one another. The chapter pays greatest attention to the constraint of self-enforcement and to the institutional aspects of IEAs. Topics discussed include: the relationship between international environmental cooperation problems and other cooperation problems; the problems IEAs are meant to address; the non-cooperative and full cooperative benchmarks; IEAs as stage games; the empirical implications of the theory; alternative equilibrium concepts; minimum participation in a treaty; pollution abatement as a strategic substitute and as a strategic complement; the difference between compliance and participation enforcement; IEAs as repeated games; the trade-off between the depth and breadth of cooperation; the distributive and strategic roles of side payments; issue linkage; trade leakage; and enforcement relying on trade restrictions. The chapter also shows how the theory can illuminate real problems, including acid rain, ozone depletion, and global climate change. The chapter concludes with suggestions for future research.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    in new window

    This chapter was published in:
  • K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), 2005. "Handbook of Environmental Economics," Handbook of Environmental Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3, June.
  • This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Environmental Economics with number 3-28.
    Handle: RePEc:eee:envchp:3-28
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:envchp:3-28. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.