Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 785–800

Can strategic technology development improve climate cooperation? A game-theoretic analysis

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11027-012-9388-0

Cite this article as:
Urpelainen, J. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change (2013) 18: 785. doi:10.1007/s11027-012-9388-0


Clean technology has figured prominently in recent debates on international climate policy. This article offers a game-theoretic investigation of the possibility and effectiveness of strategic technology development: environmental leaders setting policies that reduce the global cost of clean technology. The game-theoretic model combines technology development and adoption with pollution abatement, and it allows technology costs to differ across countries. The key theoretical findings are as follows. First, free riding is an obstacle to technology development in two ways: countries fail to fully internalize the beneficial effect of technology development on (i) global pollution abatement and (ii) the reduced cost of technology adoption in outsider countries. Second, strategic technology development can be effective when (i) a key group of frontrunner countries prefers to invest in research and development and (ii) many other countries are willing to adopt the new technology. The findings suggest that strategic technology deployment by a group of frontrunners can enable more effective climate cooperation in the future.


Climate changeClean technologyTechnology cooperationStrategyInternational cooperationGame theory

Supplementary material

11027_2012_9388_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (73 kb)
(PDF 72.7 KB)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA