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The Role of Uncertainty and Learning for the Success of International Climate Agreements

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  • Finus, Michael
  • Pintassilgo, Pedro

Abstract

Transnational externalities (e.g. transboundary pollution, trade, contagious diseases and terrorism) warrant coordination and cooperation between governments, but this proves often difficult. One reason for the meager success is the public good character of many of these economic problems, encouraging free-riding. Another reason one might suspect is uncertainty, surrounding most environmental problems, and in particular climate change. This provides often an excuse for remaining inactive. Paradoxically, some recent papers have concluded just the opposite: the “veil of uncertainty” can be conducive to the success of international environmental cooperation. In this paper, we explain why and under which conditions this can be true. However, we argue that those conditions are the exception rather than the rule. Most important, we suggest a mechanism for those conditions where learning has a negative effect on the success of cooperation which removes this effect or even turns it into a positive effect. Our results apply beyond the specifics of climate change to similar problems where cooperation generates positive externalities.
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Suggested Citation

  • Finus, Michael & Pintassilgo, Pedro, 2012. "The Role of Uncertainty and Learning for the Success of International Climate Agreements," Department of Economics Working Papers 28482, University of Bath, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:eid:wpaper:28482
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hans-Peter Weikard & Leo Wangler & Andreas Freytag, 2015. "Minimum Participation Rules with Heterogeneous Countries," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 62(4), pages 711-727, December.
    2. Pedro Pintassilgo & Lone Kronbak & Marko Lindroos, 2015. "International Fisheries Agreements: A Game Theoretical Approach," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 62(4), pages 689-709, December.
    3. Finus, M & Pintassilgo, Pedro & Ulph, Alistair, 2014. "International Environmental Agreements with Uncertainty, Learning and Risk Aversion," Department of Economics Working Papers 39840, University of Bath, Department of Economics.
    4. repec:eee:jeeman:v:83:y:2017:i:c:p:90-106 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Sareh Vosooghi, 2017. "Information Design In Coalition Formation Games," Working Papers 2017.28, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    6. repec:eee:jeeman:v:85:y:2017:i:c:p:1-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Alexandre SAUQUET & Antoine CAZALS, 2013. "When does cooperation win and why? Political cycles and participation in international environmental agreements," Working Papers 201320, CERDI.
    8. Kai Lessmann & Ulrike Kornek & Valentina Bosetti & Rob Dellink & Johannes Emmerling & Johan Eyckmans & Miyuki Nagashima & Hans-Peter Weikard & Zili Yang, 2015. "The Stability and Effectiveness of Climate Coalitions," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 62(4), pages 811-836, December.
    9. Alejandro Caparrós, 2016. "Bargaining and International Environmental Agreements," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 65(1), pages 5-31, September.
    10. José-Manuel Giménez-Gómez & Jordi Teixidó-Figueras & Cori Vilella, 2016. "The global carbon budget: a conflicting claims problem," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 136(3), pages 693-703, June.
    11. Eichner, Thomas & Pethig, Rüdiger, 2017. "Self-enforcing environmental agreements and trade in fossil energy deposits," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 1-20.
    12. repec:aen:journl:ej38-4-kersting is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Gary D. Libecap, 2013. "Addressing Global Environmental Externalities: Transaction Costs Considerations," NBER Working Papers 19501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Michael FinusAlistair Ulph & Alistair Ulph, 2013. "International Environmental Agreements with Uncertainty, Learning and Risk Aversion," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 1329, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    15. Pintassilgo, Pedro & Laukkanen, Marita & Kronbak, Lone Grønbæk & Lindroos, Marko, 2015. "International Fisheries Agreements and Non-consumptive Values," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 8/2015, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General

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