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An Economic Theory of Emission Cap Determination by an International Agreement


  • Sudhir A. Shah

    (Delhi School of Economics)


We attempt to clarify the problem of determination of national emission endowments under the Kyoto protocol. We argue that many issues, such as assigning culpability and compensation for the current global stock of carbon and the linking of emission endowments to per capita entitlements, are better handled through direct lump-sum transfers and not via distortions of the endowments of emission flows. Given these arguments, we model the distribution of endowments as equilibrium of a non-cooperative game. This framework allows us to make qualitative predictions about the impact of international differences on the pattern of emission caps. We also perform simple comparative statistic exercises that predict how the equilibrium caps vary with parametric changes. Moreover, we study how nations can manipulate the emission caps by strategic investment in technology and damage control.

Suggested Citation

  • Sudhir A. Shah, 2000. "An Economic Theory of Emission Cap Determination by an International Agreement," Working papers 88, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cde:cdewps:88

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barrett, Scott, 1994. "Self-Enforcing International Environmental Agreements," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 878-894, Supplemen.
    2. Stavins, Robert & Hahn, Robert, 1999. "What Has Kyoto Wrought? The Real Architecture of International Tradable Permit Markets," Discussion Papers dp-99-30, Resources For the Future.
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    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation


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