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  • International environmental negotiations

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  • Alessandro Tavoni

    Assistant Professorial Research Fellow

    Alessandro’s research spans several topics in environmental economics, primarily related to the drivers of cooperation in the (climate) commons. This is tackled through a combination of non-cooperative and evolutionary game theory models, as well as laboratory experiments, surveys and simulations, in an effort to shed light on the potential solutions to environmental dilemmas.

    Background

    Alessandro holds a PhD in Economics from Universita’ Ca’ Foscari di Venezia (2011). He is also an Associate Researcher at Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), as well as a member of the Levin Lab at Princeton University and an International Fellow of the Sogang Experimental Economics Laboratory in Korea.

    Research interests

    • Game theory;
    • International environmental agreements;
    • Experimental economics;
    • Coupled social-ecological systems.

    Prospective PhD students

    Allesandro welcomes prospective PhD students interested in the above topics, and who have a solid background in economics.
    Visit the ‘Study with us’ page for further information on applying to be a PhD student with us.

    Research article  6 March, 2017

    Long-term scenarios: Energy pathways in the UK

    The bottom-up approach promoted through the Paris Agreement and signed in 2016 requires the definition of accurate and realistic national pathways to cut emissions. A recent study applied to … read more »

    Research article  17 February, 2017

    Luring others into climate action: coalition formation games with threshold and spillover effects

    We explore the prospects of cooperation in a threshold public bad game. The experiment’s setup allows us to investigate the issue of effort coordination between signatories and non-signatories to … read more »

    Research article  10 February, 2017

    Using Adaptation Insurance to Incentivize Climate-change Mitigation

    Effective responses to climate change may demand a radical shift in human lifestyles away from self-interest for material gain, towards self-restraint for the public good. The challenge then lies … read more »

    Research article  9 February, 2017

    Resilience in the global food system

    Ensuring food security requires food production and distribution systems function throughout disruptions. Understanding the factors that contribute to the global food system’s ability to respond and adapt to such … read more »

    Working paper  18 January, 2017

    Cooperation in the climate commons

    This paper surveys the existing empirical evidence on the scope for cooperation in the climate commons and on the effectiveness of possible interventions to spur it. Given the global public … read more »

    2016

    Research article  7 December, 2016

    How green are green economists?

    This paper analyzes the decision of “green” economists to participate in the carbon offset market, and how this decision is related with the views that these experts hold on offsets. … read more »

    Research article  25 September, 2016

    Domestic politics and the formation of international environmental agreements

    We investigate the effect of domestic politics on international environmental policy by incorporating into a classic stage game of coalition formation the phenomenon of lobbying by special-interest groups. In … read more »

    Research article  14 September, 2016

    Reserves and trade jointly determine exposure to food supply shocks

    While a growing proportion of global food consumption is obtained through international trade, there is an ongoing debate on whether this increased reliance on trade benefits or hinders food security, and specifically, the ability of global food systems to absorb shocks due to local or regional losses of production. This paper introduces a model that simulates the short-term response to a food supply shock originating in a single country. read more »

    Working paper  15 August, 2016

    A bargaining experiment on heterogeneity and side deals in climate negotiations

    The recent global climate change agreement in Paris leaves a wide gap between pledged and requisite emissions reductions in keeping with the commonly accepted 2°C target. A recent strand of … read more »

    Working paper  28 July, 2016

    How green are economists?

    The market for voluntary carbon offsets has grown steadily in the last decade, yet it remains a very small niche. While 10% of greenhouse gas emissions generated by transportation are … read more »

    Working paper  20 May, 2016

    Tipping points and loss aversion in international environmental agreements

    We study the impact of loss-aversion and the threat of catastrophic damages, which we jointly call threshold concerns, on international environmental agreements. We aim to understand whether a threshold for … read more »

    Alessandro Tavoni
    Working paper  20 May, 2016

    Tipping and reference points in climate change games

    We live in a world characterized by discontinuities, where thresholds for abrupt and irreversible change are omnipresent, both in economic and ecological dynamics. Such thresholds, often referred to as tipping … read more »

    Research article  17 May, 2016

    Past and present biophysical redundancy of countries as a buffer to changes in food supply

    Spatially diverse trends in population growth, climate change, industrialization, urbanization and economic development are expected to change future food supply and demand. These changes may affect the suitability of land … read more »

    Research article  6 January, 2016

    Robustness of norm-driven cooperation in the commons

    We assess the robustness of cooperation to environmental variability in a stylized model of a community that harvests a shared resource. read more »

    2015

    Research article  8 September, 2015

    Network Economics and the Environment: Insights and Perspectives

    Local interactions and network structures appear to be a prominent feature of many environmental problems. This paper discusses a wide range of issues and potential areas of application, including the … read more »

    Working paper  20 March, 2015

    Delegation and public pressure in a threshold public goods game: theory and experimental evidence

    The provision of global public goods, such as climate change mitigation and managing fisheries to avoid overharvesting, requires the coordination of national contributions. read more »

    Working paper  13 January, 2015

    Luring others into climate action: Coalition formation games with threshold and spillover effects

    Cooperation between countries is required to overcome major societal problems, such as climate change. However, rational logic dictates that individual countries are incentivised not to act, instead preferring to … read more »

    2014

    Research article  26 November, 2014

    Managing the climate commons at the nexus of ecology, behaviour and economics

    Academic contributions to climate change policy have been constrained by methodological and terminological differences, so we discuss how programmes aimed at cross-disciplinary education and involvement in governance may help to unlock scholars' potential to propose new solutions. read more »

    Conference presentation  30 June, 2014

    Strategies in Climate Negotiations: Theory and Experiments

    Papers from the ‘Strategies in Climate Negotiations: Theory and Experiments’ session at the Fifth World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists. Session chaired by Alessandro Tavoni, London School of Economics … read more »


    Research article  30 June, 2014

    Climate engineering reconsidered

    Stratospheric injection of sulphate aerosols has been advocated as an emergency geoengineering measure to tackle dangerous climate change, or as a stop-gap until atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are reduced. But it may not prove to be the game-changer that some imagine. read more »

    Research article  6 May, 2014

    On the provision of public goods with probabilistic and ambiguous thresholds

    Many natural systems involve thresholds that, once triggered, imply irreversible damages for the users. Although the existence of such thresholds is undisputed, their location is highly uncertain. read more »

    Working paper  1 January, 2014

    Robustness of norm-driven cooperation in the commons to environmental variability

    Growing empirical evidence points to the importance of social norms for achieving sustainable use of common pool resources (CPR). Social norms can facilitate the cooperation and … read more »

    Working paper  1 January, 2014

    Network economics and the environment: insights and perspectives

    Recent research in the field of network economics has shown how explicitly modelling the network structure of social and economic relations can provide significant theoretical insights, … read more »

    2013

    Research article  21 July, 2013

    Regime shifts in a social-ecological system

    Ecological regime shifts are rarely purely ecological. Not only is the regime shift frequently triggered by human activity, but the responses of relevant actors to ecological dynamics are often … read more »

    Research article  14 July, 2013

    Game theory: Building up cooperation

    Reference Tavoni, A. 2013. Game theory: Building up cooperation. Nature Climate Change.

    Research article  20 February, 2013

    Coordinating to protect the global climate

    Reference Tavoni, A., and Dannenberg, A. February 2013. Coordinating to protect the global climate. Chapter 2 of book, ‘Analyzing Global Environmental Issues: theoretical and experimental applications and their policy implications’ (Ariel … read more »

    Working paper  1 January, 2013

    Regime shifts in a social-ecological system

    Ecological regime shifts are rarely purely ecological. Not only is the regime shift frequently triggered by human activity, but the responses of relevant actors to ecological … read more »

    2012

    Working paper  1 August, 2012

    Domestic politics and the formation of international environmental agreements

    The theory of international environmental agreements overwhelmingly assumes that governments engage as unitary agents. Each government makes choices based on benefits and costs that are simple … read more »

    Research article  20 April, 2012

    The survival of the conformist: social pressure and renewable resource management

    This paper examines the role of other-regarding behavior as a mechanism for the establishment and maintenance of cooperation in resource use under variable social and environmental conditions. By coupling … read more »

    Research article  20 March, 2012

    Climate Change Policies: global challenges and future prospects (edited by Cerdá, Labandeira [book review])

    Reference Tavoni, A. 2012. Climate Change Policies: global challenges and future prospects (edited by Cerdá, Labandeira [book review]). Government and Policy, v.30.

    2011

    Working paper  1 November, 2011

    Coordination under threshold uncertainty in a public goods game

    We explored experimentally how threshold uncertainty affects coordination success in a threshold public goods game. Whereas all groups succeeded in providing the public good when the … read more »

    Research article  19 July, 2011

    Inequality, communication and the avoidance of disastrous climate change in a public goods game

    International efforts to provide global public goods often face the challenges of coordinating national contributions and distributing costs equitably in the face of uncertainty, inequality, and freeriding incentives. In … read more »

    Working paper  1 January, 2011

    The survival of the conformist: social pressure and renewable resource management

    This paper examines the role of other-regarding behavior as a mechanism for the establishment and maintenance of cooperation in resource use under variable social and environmental … read more »

    Working paper  1 January, 2011

    Inequality, communication and the avoidance of disastrous climate change

    Paper 34 International efforts to provide global public goods often face the challenges of coordinating national contributions and distributing costs equitably in the face of uncertainty, inequality, and free-riding … read more »

    More in research publications

    In the news  10 March, 2017

    UK emissions should be ‘net-zero’ by 2070 at the latest, study says

    Carbon Brief, 10 March 2107

    2015

    Commentary  11 December, 2015

    COP21: Can game theory predict a global deal on climate change?

    Climate change is a ‘wicked problem’, in the terms of game theorists. Collectively, all countries should act on climate change. But it may not always be in a country’s individual … read more »

    2014

    In the news  4 July, 2014

    Climate engineering offers little hope of mitigation

    Injecting particles into the stratosphere to shade and cool the Earth will never stop climate change. This is the shocking claim made in the July issue of Nature Climate Change by an international group of prominent scientists read more »

    In the news  29 May, 2014

    Climate pact may depend on side deals by poor nations

    Scidev.net

    2013

    In the news  14 August, 2013

    México y el cambio climático

    La Gran Historia

    2012

    Commentary  5 December, 2012

    Why do we see unilateral action on climate change?

    In keeping with expectations, recent multilateral climate change talks in Doha have achieved very little. Yet, the good news is that unilateral action is on the up. This column argues … read more »

    More in news

    2014

    Grantham Workshop 5 Feb 2014

    Network Economics and the Environment

    Speaker: Alessandro Tavoni

    More in events