International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics > Vol 9 > Issue 3–4

International Environmental Agreements: Doomed to Fail or Destined to Succeed? A Review of the Literature

Walid Marrouch, Department of Economics, Lebanese American University, Lebanon, , Amrita Ray Chaudhuri, Department of Economics, University of Winnipeg; Center & TILEC, Tilburg University, Canada R3B 2E9,
Suggested Citation
Walid Marrouch and Amrita Ray Chaudhuri (2016), "International Environmental Agreements: Doomed to Fail or Destined to Succeed? A Review of the Literature", International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics: Vol. 9: No. 3–4, pp 245-319.

Publication Date: 05 Sep 2016
© 2016 W. Marrouch and A. Ray Chaudhuri
Panel data,  Environmental economics,  Public economics,  Economic theory
JEL Codes: C70H87Q50Q54
International environmental agreementscoalition formationtransboundary pollutionclimate change


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In this article:
1. Introduction 
2. Pure IEA Games 
3. IEA Games with Side Payments and Issue Linkage 
4. Novel Approaches to the IEA Formation Problem 
5. Conclusion 


We survey the economics literature on International Environmental Agreements (IEAs). We classify the extant literature into the following categories: pure IEA games without linkages, which focus on a single externality stemming from global pollution; IEA games with side payments and issue linkages, which consider carrot or stick mechanisms to lure cooperators or punish defectors; political economy models, which examine intra- and inter-governmental issues that affect international negotiations; design issues of IEAs; behavioral factors, which affect the willingness of countries to cooperate; and additional externalities resulting from open economy issues and adaptation, which interact with the global pollution externality and affect the free-riding incentives of countries. Based on this classification of the literature, we attempt to identify conditions under which an international environmental agreement would be sustainable and effective.