The Effects of the Length of the Period of Commitment on the Size of Stable International Environmental Agreements
Series/Report no.Cahier de recherche #2010-02
This paper extends the standard model of self-enforcing dynamic international environmental agreements by allowing the length of the period of commitment of such agreements to vary as a parameter. It analyzes the pattern of behavior of the size of stable coalitions, the stock of pollutant and the emission rate as a function of the length of the period of commitment. It is shown that the length of the period of commitment can have very significant effects on the equilibrium. Three distinct intervals for the length of the period of commitment are identified, across which the equilibrium and its dynamic behavior differ considerably. Whereas for sufficiently high values of the period of commitment only self-enforcing agreements of two countries are possible, for sufficiently low such values full cooperation can be generated. Lengths of periods of commitment between those two thresholds are characterized by an inverse relationship between the length of commitment and the membership size of the agreement. This suggests that considerable attention should be given to the determination of the length of such international agreements.