Friday, August 14, 2009

Game theory and Kyoto negotiations

I'm not a huge fan of simple game theory analyses of international climate change negotiations (even though I've been guilty of using them myself) because they tend to model each country as being an individual acting in its own interests, when the political reality is rather more complicated.

For example, simple prisoner's dilemma game theory would predict that no countries would take unilateral action on climate because it's not in their national self-interest - the only action would come in the form of a comprehensive international treaty. But domestic politics - for better or worse - often produces results that don't accord with national self-interest.

Anyway, Peter Wood has taken a neat look at the US position in international climate negotiations through a game theory lens. He incorporates domestic politics and looks at it as a 2-stage game where the need to get agreement in the Senate once negotiators get home will have a big impact on what those negotiators will want to get at Copenhagen. It's common sense really but interesting all the same.

Australia's Kyoto negotiation team prepares for Copenhagen (Dilbert - Scott Adams)

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