The Biodiversity Bargaining Problem
This paper describes global biodiversity conservation as a co-operative bargaining problem. We model an interdependent ‘technology rich’ North and a ‘gene rich’ South who must co-operate in the biotechnology sector in order to combine their unique and essential resources and maximise global surplus. Chief among the ideas presented here is that, in a manner similar to the ‘rational threats’ idea posited by Nash (1953), and in line with observations of pre-contractual bargaining over biodiversity conservation in Latin America (World Bank 2003), destruction of biological resources represents a real source of bargaining power to the South in determining the bargaining outcome. Not only this, but current institutional arrangements relevant to the biodiversity bargaining problem, namely the incremental cost approach enshrined in the CBD and IPRs for innovation enshrined in TRIPS, can be shown to offer a second-best solution. These arrangements may induce the strategic incentives in the game of surplus division.
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