Environ Resource Econ (2018) 70:343–362
Climate Negotiations in the Lab: A Threshold Public
Goods Game with Heterogeneous Contributions Costs
and Non-binding Voting
· Karl-Martin Ehrhart
Accepted: 7 March 2017 / Published online: 22 March 2017
© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017
Abstract We model the climate negotiations and the countries’ individual commitments to
carbon dioxide reductions as a threshold public goods game with uncertain threshold value.
We ﬁnd that a non-binding unanimous voting procedure on contribution vectors leads to
frequent agreement on an optimal total contribution and high rates of compliance, even in
the case of heterogeneous marginal contribution costs. However, groups that do not reach
agreement perform worse than the baseline treatments without a voting procedure. The contri-
bution vectors chosen by the groups point to a predominant burden-sharing rule that equalizes
individual contribution costs, even at the cost of the group’s total payoff.
Keywords Burden sharing · Climate change · Heterogeneity · Threshold public good ·
Threshold uncertainty · Unanimous voting
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10640-017-0123-x)
contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute of Economics (ECON), Neuer Zirkel 3,
76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
Chair of Internet and Telecommunications Business, University of Passau, Dr.-Hans-Kapﬁnger-Str.
12, 94032 Passau, Germany