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Überblick Forschung / Research

Concerning research activities of the Chair of Economic Theory, the focal points are in the field of Environmental and Resource Economics and also in the field of Law and Economics.

Cooperative solutions to international environmental problems

In the light of negative environmental externalities economic activities in the Nash equilibrium are too high from a global point of view. However, due to the omnipresent free-rider incentive, cooperative solutions prove difficult to be obtained and sustained. The project analyses in a polit-economic and game theoretical framework the conditions under which cooperative (globally optimal or second best) agreements are possible and suggests measures to improve upon the present situation.

Global environmental change: towards an integrated analysis of risk-economic and strategic aspects

Taking strategic and stochastic uncertainty simultaneously into account (risk-strategic approach) the possibility of international co-operation is explained in terms of objective and subjective risk assessment. The interaction of both reveals the importance of country-specific risk preferences for the initiation, the enlargement and the enforcement of co-operation. Depending on the national risk attitudes different kinds of games evolve, e.g. the chicken and stag hunt.
Moreover, given the intensity of risk aversion, the possibility of co-operation (the underlying game) varies by the choice of national policy instrument and technology. Both factors determine the objective risk parameters. To highlight their influence on the success of global risk management a new criterion for international policy assessment and choice is developed: "the criterion of co-operative push".

Environmental policy and induced technical change

We analyse how the use of alternative environmental policy instruments may further green technologies. Issues of the invention and of the diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies are considered. A certain focus of this project is on the dynamic incentives of environmental liability law. However, other environmental policy instruments like effluent charges and transferable discharge permits are also considered. The analysis spans from national policy issues to international environmental treaty making.

"Unconventional" approaches to environmental economics

The core of the research work of the chair of economic theory applies traditional "neoclassical" methods to the analysis of environmental problems and environmental policy. However, approaches like behavioral economics and agent-based modelling which have received increasing attention in the recent scientific debate are also considered. The question is how traditional environmental economic wisdom is affected by using alternative theoretical frameworks. This analysis will be applied in the areas of the economic analysis of alternative environmental policy instruments as well as to the economic analysis of international environmental negotiations.

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