The paper explores the issue of climate change in terms of the public choice problem. According to rational choice theory, individuals will generally face disincentives to undertake costly efforts to generate public goods. This generates strong free-rider incentives on others’ provision of public goods, resulting in a general failure to provide the level of public goods that all would prefer if they could act collectively. Free-rider incentives in the Kyoto Protocol may be so strong that it pays a country not to participate. Furthermore, climate policy will be particularly subject to distortions for the activities of interest groups due to the variety of groups concerned, the global repercussions and the long time-scales involved. Therefore, the degree of international cooperation is rather low despite huge potential cost savings. The theory of public choice can be helpful in explaining these discrepancies. The paper shows that addressing environmental problem by political means is never simple.
|Keywords:||Climate Change, International Agreements, Post-2012, Public Choice|
Researcher, Department of Economics, Turku School of Economics, Turku, Finland
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