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Soft Cooperation in the Shadow of Distributional Conflict? A Model-Based Assessment of the Two-Level Game between International Climate Change Negotiations and Domestic Politics

Johannes Urpelainen and Antto Vihma

February 2015

Johannes Urpelainen and Antto Vihma, February 2015

In climate negotiations, negotiators frequently reject soft forms of cooperation that require no hard commitments and at best simple coordination. Why? We argue that in some cases negotiators reject these cooperative initiatives because they can thus signal their resolve to domestic audiences. If domestic audiences expect tough bargaining in the future, and therefore prefer a resolute negotiator, the incumbent negotiator may reject soft forms of cooperation to avoid losing the support of a hawkish domestic audience. In this paper, we develop a formal model to clarify the
relationship between domestic politics, distributional conflict, and the choice between "soft" and "hard"

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