The political economy of international environmental agreements: a survey

L. Wangler, J.C. Altamirano-Cabrera, H.P. Weikard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This paper surveys the recent literature on the political economy of the formation of international environmental agreements. The survey covers theoretical modelling approaches and empirical studies including experimental work. Central to our survey is the question how the political process impacts different stages of agreement formation and stability. We distinguish the rules defined during pre-negotiations that govern negotiations, ratification and implementation. Strategic delegation and lobbying are directly relevant during the negotiation and ratification phases. Implementation, the choice of policy instruments at the national level, will also be impacted by lobbying and indirectly influence negotiations. We find that the basic theoretical framework for the analysis of international environmental agreements is largely unrelated to empirical approaches. Furthermore, we observe that models of the political process of agreement formation, like for example sequential game models, are yet to be developed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-403
JournalInternational Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • foreign direct-investment
  • minimum participation
  • pollution-control
  • kyoto protocol
  • climate-change
  • policy
  • cooperation
  • competition
  • corruption
  • delegation

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