IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Incentives to Participate in and the Stability of International Climate Coalitions: A Game-Theoretic Approach Using the WITCH Model

  • Valentina Bosetti
  • Carlo Carraro
  • Enrica De Cian
  • Romain Duval
  • Emanuele Massetti
  • Massimo Tavoni

This paper uses WITCH, an integrated assessment model with a game-theoretic structure, to explore the prospects for, and the stability of broad coalitions to achieve ambitious climate change mitigation action. Only coalitions including all large emitting regions are found to be technically able to meet a concentration stabilisation target below 550 ppm CO2eq by 2100. Once the free-riding incentives of non-participants are taken into account, only a “grand coalition” including virtually all regions can be successful. This grand coalition is profitable as a whole, implying that all countries can gain from participation provided appropriate transfers are made across them. However, neither the grand coalition nor smaller but still environmentally significant coalitions appear to be stable. This is because the collective welfare surplus from cooperation is not found to be large enough for transfers to offset the free-riding incentives of all countries simultaneously. Some factors omitted from the analysis, which might improve coalition stability, include the co-benefits from mitigation action, the costless removal of fossil fuel subsidies, as well as alternative assumptions regarding countries’ bargaining behaviour. Incitations à participer à des coalitions internationales de lutte contre le changement climatique et stabilité de ces coalitions : Une analyse en théorie des jeux à l'aide du modèle WITCH Cet article utilise WITCH, un modèle d’évaluation intégré doté d’une structure en théorie des jeux, pour explorer les perspectives et la stabilité de larges coalitions de lutte contre le changement climatique. Il ressort que seules des coalitions incluant toutes les principales régions émettrices ont la capacité technique d’atteindre une cible de stabilisation des concentrations inférieure à 550 ppm CO2eq à l’horizon 2100. Une fois pris en compte les comportements de passager clandestin des régions non-participantes, seule une « grande coalition » regroupant pratiquement toutes les régions du monde est susceptible d’atteindre une telle cible. Cette grande coalition est profitable, impliquant qu’il est toujours possible de mettre en place un ensemble de transferts entre pays tel que tous gagnent à participer. Cependant, ni la grande coalition, ni des coalitions de moindre de taille mais néanmoins significatives d’un point de vue environnemental, n’apparaissent stables. Ceci tient au fait que le surplus collectif engendré par la coopération n’est pas suffisant pour permettre des transferts offrant à tous les pays simultanément les gains qu’ils tireraient d’un comportement de passager clandestin. Certains facteurs non pris en compte ici pourraient améliorer la stabilité des coalitions, tels les bénéfices connexes de la lutte contre le changement climatique, la possibilité de supprimer sans coût les subventions aux énergies fossiles, ou encore des hypothèses alternatives concernant le comportement de négociation des pays.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 702.

in new window

Date of creation: 30 Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:702-en
Contact details of provider: Postal:
2 rue Andre Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16

Phone: 33-(0)-1-45 24 82 00
Fax: 33-(0)-1-45 24 85 00
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Hoel, Michael, 1991. "Global environmental problems: The effects of unilateral actions taken by one country," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 55-70, January.
  2. Darwin, Roy & Tsigas, Marinos E. & Lewandrowski, Jan & Raneses, Anton, 1995. "World Agriculture and Climate Change: Economic Adaptations," Agricultural Economics Reports 33933, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  3. Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Romain Duval & Alessandra Sgobbi & Massimo Tavoni, 2009. "The Role of R&D and Technology Diffusion in Climate Change Mitigation: New Perspectives Using the WITCH Model," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 664, OECD Publishing.
  4. Ray, Debraj & Vohra, Rajiv, 1997. "Equilibrium Binding Agreements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 30-78, March.
  5. Chander, Parkash & Tulkens, Henry, 1994. "The Core of an Economy With Multilateral Environmental Externalities," Working Papers 886, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  6. Eyckmans, Johan & Finus, Michael, 2009. "An Almost Ideal Sharing Scheme for Coalition Games with Externalities," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2009-10, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  7. Valentina Bosetti, Carlo Carraro, Marzio Galeotti, Emanuele Massetti, Massimo Tavoni, 2006. "A World induced Technical Change Hybrid Model," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Special I), pages 13-38.
  8. Petrakis, Emmanuel & Xepapadeas, Anastasios, 1996. "Environmental consciousness and moral hazard in international agreements to protect the environment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 95-110, April.
  9. Carraro, Carlo & Marchiori, Carmen & Sgobbi, Alessandra, 2005. "Advances in negotiation theory : bargaining, coalitions, and fairness," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3642, The World Bank.
  10. d'ASPREMONT, Claude & JACQUEMIN, Alexis & GABSZEWICZ, Jean J. & WEYMARK, John A., . "On the stability of collusive price leadership," CORE Discussion Papers RP 522, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  11. Hanemann, William Michael, 2008. "What is the economic cost of climate change?," CUDARE Working Paper Series 1071, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
  12. repec:cor:louvrp:-1276 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Jean-Marc Burniaux & Jean Château & Romain Duval & Stéphanie Jamet, 2008. "The Economics of Climate Change Mitigation: Policies and Options for the Future," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 658, OECD Publishing.
  14. Michael Hoel, 1992. "International environment conventions: The case of uniform reductions of emissions," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(2), pages 141-159, March.
  15. Hans-Peter Weikard & Juan-Carlos Altamirano-Cabrera & Michael Finus, 2004. "The Impact of Surplus Sharing on The Stability of International Climate Agreements," Working Papers 2004.99, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  16. Richard S.J. Tol, 2006. "Why Worry About Climate Change? A Research Agenda," Working Papers 2006.136, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  17. Keller, Klaus & Bolker, Benjamin M. & Bradford, D.F.David F., 2004. "Uncertain climate thresholds and optimal economic growth," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 723-741, July.
  18. Michael Hoel & Kerstin Schneider, 1997. "Incentives to participate in an international environmental agreement," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 9(2), pages 153-170, March.
  19. Moldovanu, Benny, 1992. "Coalition-proof nash equilibria and the core in three-player games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 565-581, October.
  20. Armando Gomes, 2005. "Multilateral Contracting with Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(4), pages 1329-1350, 07.
  21. Alan Manne & Richard Richels, 1995. "The Greenhouse Debate: Econonmic Efficiency, Burden Sharing and Hedging Strategies," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 1-38.
  22. Johannes Bollen & Bruno Guay & Stéphanie Jamet & Jan Corfee-Morlot, 2009. "Co-Benefits of Climate Change Mitigation Policies: Literature Review and New Results," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 693, OECD Publishing.
  23. Juan-Carlos Altamirano-Cabrera & Michael Finus, 2006. "Permit trading and stability of international climate agreements," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 19-48, May.
  24. William D. Nordhaus, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 686-702, September.
  25. Carlo Carraro (ed.), 2003. "The Endogenous Formation of Economic Coalitions," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2999, 10.
  26. Goldin,Ian & Winters,L. Alan (ed.), 1995. "The Economics of Sustainable Development," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521469579, September.
  27. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000387, David K. Levine.
  28. Carraro, Carlo & Siniscalco, Domenico, 1991. "Strategies for the International Protection of the Environment," CEPR Discussion Papers 568, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  29. Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 703-724, September.
  30. Bosetti, Valentina & Carraro, Carlo & Massetti, Emanuele & Sgobbi, Alessandra & Tavoni, Massimo, 2009. "Optimal energy investment and R&D strategies to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 123-137, May.
  31. Barrett, Scott, 2001. "International cooperation for sale," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1835-1850, December.
  32. Jean-Marc Burniaux & Jean Château & Rob Dellink & Romain Duval & Stéphanie Jamet, 2009. "The Economics of Climate Change Mitigation: How to Build the Necessary Global Action in a Cost-Effective Manner," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 701, OECD Publishing.
  33. Barrett, Scott, 1994. "Self-Enforcing International Environmental Agreements," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 878-94, Supplemen.
  34. Francesco Bosello & Barbara Buchner & Carlo Carraro, 2003. "Equity, Development, and Climate Change Control," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 601-611, 04/05.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:702-en. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.