Public Choice

, Volume 125, Issue 1–2, pp 95–127 | Cite as

The effect of membership rules and voting schemes on the success of international climate agreements

  • Michael Finus
  • Juan-Carlos Altamirano-Cabrera
  • Ekko C. Van Ierland


We empirically test the role of membership rules and voting schemes for climate change coalitions with the STAbility of COalitions model (STACO). The model comprises twelve world regions and captures long-run effects of greenhouse gas accumulation. We apply three stability concepts that capture the notion of open membership and exclusive membership with majority and unanimity voting. We show that exclusive membership leads to superior outcomes than open membership and that unanimity voting is preferable to majority voting in welfare and environmental terms. Our results suggest restricting membership in future international environmental agreements and they provide a rationale for unanimity voting as applied in many international organizations.


Climate Change Public Finance Majority Vote Superior Outcome World Region 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Babiker, M. H., Reilly, J. M., Mayer, M., Eckaus, R. S., Wing, I. S., & Hyman, R. C. (2001). The MIT Emissions Prediction and Policy Analysis (EPPA) Model: Revisions, Sensitivities, and Comparison Results, Report No. 71, MIT, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  2. Barrett, S. (1994). Self-enforcing international environmental agreements. Oxford Economic Papers, 46, 804–878.Google Scholar
  3. Barrett, S. (1997). Heterogeneous international agreements. In C. Carraro (Ed.), International environmental negotiations: Strategic policy issues (pp. 9–25). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  4. Bauer, A. (1992). International cooperation over greenhouse gas abatement, Mimeo, Seminar für empirische Wirtschaftsforschung, University of Munich, Munich.Google Scholar
  5. Bloch, F. (1997). Non-cooperative models of coalition formation in games with spillovers. In Carraro, C. & Siniscalco, D. (Eds.), New directions in the economic theory of the environment(ch. 10, pp. 311–352), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  6. Böhringer, C., & Vogt, C. (2004). The dismantling of a breakthrough: The Kyoto protocol as symbolic policy, European Journal of Political Economy, 20(3), 597–617.Google Scholar
  7. Bosello, F., Buchner, B., Carraro, C., & Raggi, D. (2004). Can equity enhance efficiency? Some lessons from climate negotiations. In Carraro, C. & Fragnelli, V. (Eds.), Game Practice and the Environment, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar., ch 2, 37–64.Google Scholar
  8. Botteon, M., & Carraro, C. (1997). Burden-sharing and coalition stability in environmental negotiations with asymmetric countries. In C. Carraro (Ed.), International environmental negotiations: Strategic policy issues (ch. 3, pp. 26–55). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  9. Buchanan, J. M., & Tullock, G. (1962). The calculus of consent. Ann Arbour: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  10. Buchner, B., & Carraro, C. (2003). Emission trading regimes and incentives to participate in international climate agreements. CATEP Policy Brief No. 3.Google Scholar
  11. Buchner, B., Carraro, C., Cersosimo, I., & Marchiori, C. (2002). Back to Kyoto? US participation and the linkage between R&D and climate cooperation. CEPR Discussion Paper 3299.Google Scholar
  12. Carraro, C., & Siniscalco, D. (1993). Strategies for the international protection of the environment. Journal of Public Economics, 52, 309–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carraro, C., & Siniscalco, D. (1998). International environmental agreements: Incentives and political economy. European Economic Review, 42, 561–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chander, P., & Tulkens, H. (1995). A core-theoretic solution for the design of cooperative agreements on transfrontier pollution. International Tax and Public Finance, 2, 279–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chander, P., & Tulkens, H. (1997). The core of an economy with multilateral environmental externalities. International Journal of Game Theory, 26, 379–401.Google Scholar
  16. Dellink, R. B., Finus, M., van Ierland, E. C., & Altamirano, J.-C. (2003). Empirical background paper of the STACO model, Draft, University of Wageningen.Google Scholar
  17. Dijkstra, B. R. (1999). The political economy of environmental policy: A public choice approach to market instruments. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  18. Ellerman, A. D., & Decaux, A. (1998). MIT Report no. 40. Analysis of post-Kyoto CO2 emissions trading using marginal abatement curves.
  19. Endres, A. (1997). Negotiating a climate convention – the role of prices and quantities. International Review of Law and Economics, 17, 201–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Endres, A., & Finus, M. (2002). Quotas may beat taxes in a global emission game. International Tax and Public Finance, 9, 687–707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Euractiv (2003). EU News, Policy Positions & EU Actors online.
  22. Fankhauser, S. (1995). Valuing climate change, London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  23. Finus, M. (2001). Game theory and international environmental cooperation. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  24. Finus, M. (2003). Stability and design of international environmental agreements: The case of transboundary pollution. In H. Folmer and T. Tietenberg (Eds.), International yearbook of environmental and resource economics (2003/4, ch. 3, pp. 82–158). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  25. Finus, M. (2004). Modesty pays: Sometimes! Working Paper 68.2004, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.Google Scholar
  26. Finus, M., & Rundshagen, B. (1998). Toward a positive theory of coalition formation and endogenous instrumental choice in global pollution control. Public Choice, 96, 145–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Finus, M., & Rundshagen, B. (2003a). Endogenous coalition formation in global pollution control: A partition function approach. In Carraro, C. (Ed.), Endogenous formation of economic coalitions (ch. 6, pp. 199–243), Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  28. Finus, M., & Rundshagen, B. (2003b). How the rules of coalition formation affect stability of international environmental agreements. Working Paper 62.2003, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.Google Scholar
  29. Germain, M., & van Steenberghe, V. (2001). Constraining equitable allocations of tradable greenhouse gases emission quotas by acceptability. Discussion Paper 2001/5, CORE- Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve.Google Scholar
  30. Germain, M., Toint, P. L., Tulkens, H., & de Zeeuw, A. (2000). Transfers to sustain core-theoretic cooperation in international stock pollutant control. Revised version of CORE Discussion Paper No. 9832, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain.Google Scholar
  31. Hahn, R. W. (1989). A Primer on Environmental Policy Design. Chur: Harwood Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  32. Hillman, A. L., & Ursprung, H. W. (1994). Greens, supergreens, and international trade policy: Environmental concerns and protectionism. In C. Carraro (Ed.), The International Dimension of Environmental Policy (pp. 75–108), Kluwer: Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  33. Hoel, M. (1992). International environment conventions: The case of uniform reductions of emissions. Environmental and Resource Economics, 2, 141–159.Google Scholar
  34. Hoel, M., & Schneider, K. (1997). Incentives to participate in an international environmental agreement. Environmental and Resource Economics, 9, 153–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jeppesen, T., & Andersen, P. (1998). Commitment and fairness in environmental games. In N. Hanley, & H. Folmer (Eds.), Game Theory and the Environment (ch. 4, pp. 65–83). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  36. McNutt, P. A. (1996). The economics of public choice, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  37. Michaelowa, A. (1998). Climate policy and interest groups – a public choice analysis. Intereconomics, 33, 251–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Michaelowa, A., & Greiner, S. (1996). Joint implementation from a public choice perspective. World Resources Review, 8, 231–252.Google Scholar
  39. Mueller, D. C. (2003). Public choice III. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  40. NASA (2002). GDP inflation calculator based on “Budget of the United States Government, fiscal year 2001”, Historical tables, Table 10.1, Gross domestic product and deflators used in the historical tables: 1940–2005,
  41. Nordhaus, W. D. (1994). Managing the global commons, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  42. Plambeck, E. L., & Hope, C. (1996). An updated valuation of the impacts of global warming. In N. Nakicenovic, W. D. Nordhaus, R. Richels, & F. Toth (Eds.), Proceeding of the Workshop on Climate Change: Integrating Science, Economics and Policy (December 1996). IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria.Google Scholar
  43. Rubio, S., & Ulph, A. (2003). An infinite-horizon model of dynamic membership of international environmental agreement. Working Paper 57.03, Fondazine Eni Enrico Mattei, Milano.Google Scholar
  44. Sandler, T. (1992). Collective action: Theory and applications. Ann Arbour: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  45. Schneider, F., & Volkert, J. (1999). No chance for incentive-oriented environmental policies in representative democracies? A public choice analysis. Ecological Economics, 31, 123–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tol, R. S. J. (1997). A Decision-Analytic Treatise of the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect. Ph.D. Thesis, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  47. Tol, R. (2001). Climate coalitions in an integrated assessment model. Computational Economics, 18, 159–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Weyant, J. (Ed.) (1999). The costs of the Kyoto protocol: A multi-model evaluation. The Energy Journal, special issue.Google Scholar
  49. Yandle, B. (1999). Public choice at the intersection of environmental law and economics. European Journal of Law and Economics, 8, 5–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Finus
    • 1
  • Juan-Carlos Altamirano-Cabrera
    • 2
  • Ekko C. Van Ierland
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Economics, Institute of Economic TheoryHagen UniversityHagenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Social Sciences, Environmental Economics and Natural Resources GroupWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations