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Domestic politics and the formation of international environmental agreements


  • Simon Dietz
  • Carmen Marchiori
  • Alessandro Tavoni


The theory of international environmental agreements overwhelmingly assumes that governments engage as unitary agents. Each government makes choices based on benefits and costs that are simple national aggregates, and similarly on a single set of national-level motivations, together drawing a strong analogy with the behaviour of an individual or firm in other strategic contexts. In reality, however, various domestic special interests shape environmental policy, including how national governments cooperate on cross-border issues. Therefore in this paper we introduce to a classic model of international environmental cooperation the phenomenon of domestic political competition, whereby lobby groups seek to influence policy by offering to fund political campaigning. We use the model to establish some general conditions for the effects of lobbying on the stringency of policy and the size of coalitions cooperating to provide an environmental good. Using specific functional forms, we obtain a range of further results, including circumstances in which the omission of lobbying results in environmental protection being underestimated.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Dietz & Carmen Marchiori & Alessandro Tavoni, 2012. "Domestic politics and the formation of international environmental agreements," GRI Working Papers 87, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  • Handle: RePEc:lsg:lsgwps:wp87

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lange, Andreas & Vogt, Carsten, 2003. "Cooperation in international environmental negotiations due to a preference for equity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2049-2067, September.
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    6. Tavoni, Alessandro & Dannenberg, Astrid & Kallis, Giorgos & Löschel, Andreas, 2011. "Inequality, communication and the avoidance of disastrous climate change," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 37570, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    9. 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. Barrett, Scott, 1997. "The strategy of trade sanctions in international environmental agreements," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 345-361, November.
    12. Oates, Wallace E. & Portney, Paul R., 2003. "The political economy of environmental policy," Handbook of Environmental Economics,in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 325-354 Elsevier.
    13. Finus, Michael, 2008. "Game Theoretic Research on the Design of International Environmental Agreements: Insights, Critical Remarks, and Future Challenges," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 2(1), pages 29-67, June.
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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. Andrea Baranzini & Stefano Carattini, 2017. "Effectiveness, earmarking and labeling: testing the acceptability of carbon taxes with survey data," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 19(1), pages 197-227, January.
    3. Stefano Carattini & Andrea Baranzini & Philippe Thalmann & Frédéric Varone & Frank Vöhringer, 2017. "Green Taxes in a Post-Paris World: Are Millions of Nays Inevitable?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(1), pages 97-128, September.
    4. Valentina Bosetti & Melanie Heugues & Alessandro Tavoni, 2017. "Luring others into climate action: coalition formation games with threshold and spillover effects," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(2), pages 410-431.
    5. Brian Chi-ang Lin & Siqi Zheng & Doruk İriş, 2016. "Economic Targets And Loss-Aversion In International Environmental Cooperation," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(3), pages 624-648, July.
    6. Wolfgang Habla & Ralph Winkler, 2017. "Strategic Delegation and International Permit Markets: Why Linking May Fail," CESifo Working Paper Series 6515, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Achim Hagen & Leonhard Kaehler & Klaus Eisenack, 2016. "Transnational Environmental Agreements with Heterogeneous Actors," Working Papers V-387-16, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2016.
    8. repec:spr:climat:v:142:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10584-017-1975-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Fergus Green, 2015. "Nationally Self-Interested Climate Change Mitigation: A Unified Conceptual Framework," GRI Working Papers 199, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    10. Sauter, Caspar & Grether, Jean-Marie & Mathys, Nicole A., 2016. "Geographical spread of global emissions: Within-country inequalities are large and increasing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 138-149.
    11. Simon Quemin & Christian de Perthuis, 2017. "Transitional restricted linkage between Emissions Trading Schemes," Working Papers 1701, Chaire Economie du climat.
    12. Stefano Carattini & Simon Levin & Alessandro Tavoni, 2017. "Cooperation in the climate commons," GRI Working Papers 259, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • K33 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - International Law
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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