Seminar: Topics in international environmental cooperation

ENE464 Seminar: Topics in international environmental cooperation

  • Topics


    1. Paradox of international environmental agreement. Why does cooperation fail when it is most crucial?
    2. Buying cooperation. Prospects for use of side payments between countries and the role of private information.
    3. International climate policies: Country-specific emission targets, uniform carbon tax or linking permit markets.
    4. Problems with unilateral emissions reduction: Carbon leakage, adaptation and geoengineering
    5. Interaction between supply-side environmental policy and the green paradox.

  • Learning outcome

    Learning outcome

    After the course, students will be able to understand the key strategic motives in international context, and use tools from applied game theory to study economics behind environmental cooperation. The course will provide students with understanding of the many topical questions in international environmental economics, such as organizing the global climate treaty, conservation agreements between countries and the green paradox. In the course, students will be divided into groups and each group will give a presentation of an existing international environmental agreement of their choice, applying the concepts and tools learned in class.


    • Know the relevant theoretical tools to formally analyze environmental cooperation and learn to apply them
    • Learn to identify the factors determining the success or failure of environmental agreements


    • Become familiar with the empirical literature on international cooperation
    • Learn to apply the knowledge to analyze real-world environmental agreements in group presentations

  • Teaching


    Monday-Wednesday: 4 hours of lectures per day, work on problem sets and reading

    Thursday: No lecture, groups work on presentations

    Friday: Group presentations

  • Recommended prerequisites

    Recommended prerequisites

    Basic courses in microeconomics

  • Requirements for course approval

    Requirements for course approval

    Problem sets: One homework assignment will be posted at the end of each day. Students will have to hand in at least three of the four assignments for course approval. I encourage you to work cooperatively, but each student should turn in their own work in their own words.

  • Assessment


    Group presentation: Each group will focus on an existing international environmental agreement and analyze that using the skills and techniques learned in lectures. Students will attend and discuss each other`s presentations.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading Scale


  • Computer tools

    Computer tools


  • Semester



  • Literature


    Barrett, S. (1994). Self-enforcing international environmental agreements. Oxford Economic Papers, 878-894.

    *Barrett, S. (2001). International cooperation for sale. European Economic Review, 45(10), 1835-1850.

    Nordhaus, W. (2015). Climate clubs: overcoming free-riding in international climate policy. The American Economic Review, 105(4), 1339-1370.

    Harstad, B. (2011). The market for conservation and other hostages. Journal of Economic Theory, forthcoming

    Nordhaus, W. D. (2006). After Kyoto: alternative mechanisms to control global warming. The American economic review, 96(2), 31-34.

    *Weitzman, M. L. (2014). Can Negotiating a Uniform Carbon Price Help to Internalize the Global Warming Externality? Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists 1: 29-49.

    Martin, R., Muûls, M., De Preux, L. B., & Wagner, U. (2014). Industry compensation under relocation risk: A firm-level analysis of the EU emissions trading scheme. The American Economic Review, 104(8), 2482-2508.

    *Barrett, S. (2008). The incredible economics of geoengineering. Environmental and resource economics, 39(1), 45-54.

    * van der Ploeg, F., & Withagen, C. (2015). Global Warming and the Green Paradox: A Review of Adverse Effects of Climate Policies. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 9(2), 285-303.

    Harstad, B. (2012). Buy coal! A case for supply-side environmental policy. Journal of Political Economy, 120(1), 77-115.

    Compulsory readings are denoted by *


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Course responsible

 Lassi Ahlvik (Department of Economics)