Public Choice Issues in Collective Action: Constituent Group Pressures and International Global Warming Regulation

41 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2000

See all articles by Daniel Houser

Daniel Houser

George Mason University - Department of Economics; Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Joseph R. Bial

University of Chicago - Law School

Gary D. Libecap

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management; University of Arizona - Karl Eller Center; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: July 20, 2000

Abstract

There is a large and growing literature on scientific estimates and regulatory instruments associated with international efforts to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The underlying collective action processes have received much less attention. In particular, bargaining among sovereign states and the associated domestic public choice issues that must be addressed as part of an agreement have been neglected. This paper examines the problems of international cooperation when the aggregate benefits and costs of the objective, as well as the net gains to the bargaining parties, are uncertain. Uncertainty arises due to basic information problems about the effects of the treaty and compliance by sovereign countries. We outline a two-stage analytical framework that describes the positions taken by representatives of negotiating countries and the internal public choice tradeoffs facing politicians when constituents are differentially affected by the treaty. We apply the framework to the Law of the Sea Treaty of 1982 (LOS), the Montreal Protocol to Control Substances that Damage the Ozone Layer of 1987, and the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. Similar international negotiation and internal constituency issues were faced in the first two treaties that provide implications for the success of international collective action to address possible global warming.

JEL Classification: H8, K0, L5, N5, Q4

Suggested Citation

Houser, Daniel and Bial, Joseph R. and Libecap, Gary D., Public Choice Issues in Collective Action: Constituent Group Pressures and International Global Warming Regulation (July 20, 2000). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=235285 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.235285

Daniel Houser

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

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George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

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Joseph R. Bial

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

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Gary D. Libecap (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.esm.ucsb.edu/people/usernew.asp?user=glibecap

University of Arizona - Karl Eller Center ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.bpa.arizona.edu/~libecap

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