Keeping Negotiations in the Dark: Environmental Agreements Under Incomplete Information

Posted: 14 Dec 2010  

Ana Espinola-Arredondo

Washington State University - School of Economic Sciences

Felix Munoz-Garcia

Washington State University - School of Economic Sciences

Date Written: December 13, 2010

Abstract

This paper investigates the role of uncertainty as a tool to support cooperation in international environmental agreements. We consider two layers of uncertainty: one where only the follower is uninformed about the leader's environmental concern, which we refer as "unilateral uncertainty," and another where both leader and follower are uninformed about each others' concerns, denoted as "bilateral uncertainty." We show that under unilateral uncertainty treaties become successful with positive probability in the signaling game, even under parameter conditions for which no agreement is reached under complete information. Under bilateral uncertainty, a separating equilibrium emerges where the leader participates in the treaty only when its environmental concerns are high. Hence, we show that the agreement is signed for larger sets of parameter values under unilateral than bilateral uncertainty. We then evaluate the welfare properties of these equilibria, showing that further layers of uncertainty might enhance social welfare under certain conditions.

Keywords: Signaling games, Unilateral uncertainty, Bilateral uncertainty, Non-binding negotiations

JEL Classification: C72, D62, Q28

Suggested Citation

Espinola-Arredondo, Ana and Munoz-Garcia, Felix, Keeping Negotiations in the Dark: Environmental Agreements Under Incomplete Information (December 13, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1724960

Ana Espinola-Arredondo (Contact Author)

Washington State University - School of Economic Sciences ( email )

111C Hulbert Hall, Pullman, WA 99164
Pullman, WA 99164-4741
United States
509-335-8494 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ses.wsu.edu/People/espinola.htm

Felix Munoz-Garcia

Washington State University - School of Economic Sciences ( email )

P.O. Box 646210
Hulbert Hall 101
Pullman, WA 99164-6210
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ses.wsu.edu/People/munoz.htm

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