The Quest for Hegemony Among Countries and Global Pollution
Series/Report no.Cahier de recherche #2010-03
This paper builds on the assumption that countries behave in such a way as to improve, via their economic strength, the probability that they will attain the hegemonic position on the world stage. The quest for hegemony is modeled as a game, with countries being differentiated initially only by some endowment which yields a pollution free flow of income. A country's level of pollution is assumed directly related to its economic strength, as measured by its level of production. Two types of countries are distinguished: richly-endowed countries, for whom the return on their endowment is greater than the return they can expect from winning the hegemony race, and poorly-endowed countries, who can expect a greater return from winning the race than from their endowment. We show that in a symmetric world of poorly-endowed countries the equilibrium level of emissions is larger than in a symmetric world of richly-endowed countries: the former, being less well endowed to begin with, try harder to win the race. In the asymmetric world composed of both types of countries, the poorly-endowed countries will be polluting more than the richly endowed countries. Numerical simulations show that if the number of richly-endowed countries is increased keeping the total number of countries constant, the equilibrium level of global emissions will decrease; if the lot of the poorly-endowed countries is increased by increasing their initial endowment keeping that of the richly-endowed countries constant, global pollution will decrease; increasing the endowments of each type of countries in the same proportion, and hence increasing the average endowment in that proportion, will decrease global pollution; redistributing from the richly-endowed in favor of the poorly-endowed while keeping the average endowment constant will in general result in an increase in the equilibrium level of global pollution.