Internal Seminar: Sarah Spycher

Title: "Elections, Political Polarisation and Environmental Agreements"

  • Date: 19 June 2024 from 13:00 to 14:00

  • Event location: Seminar Room - Piazza Scaravilli, 2 + Microsoft Teams Meeting


This paper investigates the role that domestic elections play for IEAs and to what extent they might be an explanatory factor for the modest success of re- cent international cooperation on climate change mitigation. Agents involved in international negotiations are often subject to domestic electoral concerns and therefore, policy decisions might affect their chances of reelection in upcoming elections. Also, international treaties usually last beyond a governments’ incum- bency, which implies that the negotiation and the ratification decision might be made by two different entities. I formulate a 4-stage game modelling a bilateral environmental agreement in order to analyse the arising strategic incentives de- pending on the level of political polarisation. I find that incumbent governments mostly choose suboptimal treaties compared to if there was no election in order to boost their chances of reelection. Additionally, I find that increased political polarisation generally leads to more distorted treaties and worse outcomes from the perspective of the median voter.