Annals of Operations Research

, Volume 220, Issue 1, pp 239–262 | Cite as

International environmental cooperation: a new eye on the greenhouse gas emissions’ control



This paper re-examines the formation of International Environmental Agreements (IEAs) modelled as a two-stage non-cooperative game when countries’ strategies to control pollution are complementary. This new assumption relying on empirical and theoretical evidences means that reinforcement effects do exist between countries’ strategies when polluting or abating. From a deliberately conventional model the results established analytically strongly contrast with those in the literature on IEAs. We find that the unique stable agreement can consist in half countries involved in the negotiation; we demonstrate that the environmental impact of such cooperation is almost total: it tends toward the one of the full cooperative solution. Even if the incentives to free-ride are less strong, we do not observe the formation of the “grand” coalition: not all the countries sign the agreement. We also explain why the level of cooperation is decreasing with the perception countries have of the seriousness of the problem.


Non-cooperative game theory Global environmental problems Climate change International environmental agreements Strategic complementarities 



This paper has benefited from comments from seminar participants at Séminaire Pérenne (LAMETA, Montpellier), Séminaire Les Ateliers de l’Environnement (CORE, Louvain-La-Neuve), PGPPE Workshop on “Environmental Economics” in Montpellier. I am particularly grateful to Charles Figuières from INRA-LAMETA for many discussions throughout the development of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FEEMMilanoItaly

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