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Regional Initiatives and the Cost of Delaying Binding Climate Change Agreements

  • Beccherle, Julien
  • Tirole, Jean

The Kyoto and Copenhagen Protocols on climate change mitigation postponed the specification of binding commitments to a future negotiation. This paper analyzes the strategic implications of delayed negotiations. While, as iswell-understood, the incentive to free ride leads to excessive emissions prior to a binding agreement, the cost of delay is magnified by players’ attempt to secure a favorable bargaining position in the future negotiation. A “brinkmanship”, an “effort rebalancing”, and a “raising rival’s cost” effects all concur to generate high post-agreement emissions. The paper applies this general insight to a variety of policy instruments, from the issuance of forward or bankable permits to standards and green investment policies.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 628.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Public Economics, vol. 95, December 2011, p. 1339-1348.
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:22587
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  1. Allaz Blaise & Vila Jean-Luc, 1993. "Cournot Competition, Forward Markets and Efficiency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 1-16, February.
  2. Beccherle, Julien & Tirole, Jean, 2011. "Regional initiatives and the cost of delaying binding climate change agreements," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1339-1348.
  3. Jean Tirole, 2009. "Cognition and Incomplete Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 265-94, March.
  4. Grimaud, André & Rougé, Luc, 2007. "Environment, Directed Technical Change and Economic Policy," IDEI Working Papers 384, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
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  8. Barrett, Scott, 2005. "The theory of international environmental agreements," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1457-1516 Elsevier.
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  11. Farrell, Joseph & Gallini, Nancy T., 1987. "Second-sourcing as a Commitment: Monopoly Incentives to Attract Competition," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4zr9b9dr, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  12. Laffont, J.J. & Tirole, J., 1995. "Pollution Permits and Environmental Innovation," Papers 95.396, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  13. Fershtman, Chaim & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1991. "Dynamic voluntary provision of public goods," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 1057-1067, July.
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  16. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Andrea Shepard, 1987. "Licensing to Enhance Demand for New Technologies," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(3), pages 360-368, Autumn.
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  19. Salop, Steven C & Scheffman, David T, 1983. "Raising Rivals' Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 267-71, May.
  20. Carraro, Carlo & Siniscalco, Domenico, 1991. "Strategies for the International Protection of the Environment," CEPR Discussion Papers 568, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Transfer Pricing and Organizational Form," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 201-28, Fall.
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