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The political economy of international environmental agreements: a survey

Abstract

This paper surveys the recent literature on the political economy of the formation of international environmental agreements. The survey covers theoretical modelling approaches and empirical studies including experimental work. Central to our survey is the question how the political process impacts different stages of agreement formation and stability. We distinguish the rules defined during pre-negotiations that govern negotiations, ratification and implementation. Strategic delegation and lobbying are directly relevant during the negotiation and ratification phases. Implementation, the choice of policy instruments at the national level, will also be impacted by lobbying and indirectly influence negotiations. We find that the basic theoretical framework for the analysis of international environmental agreements is largely unrelated to empirical approaches. Furthermore, we observe that models of the political process of agreement formation, like for example sequential game models, are yet to be developed.

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Notes

  1. For a discussion of the median voter theorem, cf. Mueller (2003, Chapter 11).

Abbreviations

FDI:

Foreign direct investment

IEA:

International environmental agreement

OECD:

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

MPR:

Minimum participation rule

NGO:

Non-governmental organisation

GDP:

Gross domestic product

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers who have been offering constructive comments. This survey has grown out of a short contribution to the “Encyclopaedia of Energy, Natural Resource and Environmental Economics”. We thank Per Fredriksson for his encouragement to survey this growing field of literature.

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Wangler, L., Altamirano-Cabrera, JC. & Weikard, HP. The political economy of international environmental agreements: a survey. Int Environ Agreements 13, 387–403 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10784-012-9196-8

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Keywords

  • International environmental agreements
  • Environmental policy-making
  • Strategic delegation
  • Interest groups
  • Free-rider incentives
  • Public goods experiments
  • Coalition formation
  • Coalition stability
  • Determinants of international environmental cooperation

JEL Classification

  • D72
  • D62
  • C72
  • H41