Some recent papers

with Astrid Dannenberg, "Tipping versus Cooperating to Supply a Public Good," Journal of the European Economics Association, 2017 (FREE ACCESS).


"Coordination vs. Voluntarism and Enforcement in Sustaining International Environmental Cooperation," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(51): 14515-14522, 2016.


with Astrid Dannenberg, "An Experimental Investigation into 'Pledge and Review' in Climate Negotiations," Climatic Change 138(1): 339-351, 2016. 


with Marten Scheffer and others, "Creating a Safe Operating Space for Iconic Ecosystems, Science 347 (6228): 1317-1319, 2015.


"Solar Geoengineering’s Brave New World: Thoughts on the Governance of An Unprecedented Technology," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 8(2): 249-269, 2014.


with Astrid Dannenberg, "Sensitivity of Collective Action to Uncertainty about Climate Tipping Points," Nature Climate Change, 4: 36-39, 2014.


"Climate Treaties and Approaching Catastrophes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 66(2): 235-250, 2013.


“Economic Considerations for the Eradication Endgame,“ Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 368: 2012149, 2013.



Why Cooperate?: The Incentive to Supply Global Public Goods

Published by Oxford University Press, 2007. In paperback with a new afterword in 2010.
Published by Oxford University Press, 2007. In paperback with a new afterword in 2010.



This book examines a range of global challenges, from mitigating climate change to preventing nuclear proliferation, from controlling emerging pandemics to raising the incomes of the world’s poor, from choosing a standard for telling the time to peacekeeping, from securing “loose nukes” to halting overfishing, from creating new kinds of knowledge to saving the Earth from being smashed by a mega-asteroid.


The book looks at each of these issues, and more, from the perspective of individual countries as well as  the world as a whole. What incentive do states have to address these issues? How can international institutions redirect these incentives, to make the world as a whole better off?


Why cooperate? Because that’s the best way--in most cases, the only way--to address the world’s greatest challenges.


Audio of book talk at the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs, 16 October 2007.



“This book is an exciting, accessible read. ”

Perspectives on Politics


“...deserves careful consideration by the experts and a wide readership among those interested in public policy.”

Journal of Economic Literature


“Inadequately provided global public goods offer a rich agenda for the future; the relevant issues, along with many historical examples of both successes and failures, are intelligently addressed here.”

Foreign Affairs



“Scott Barrett deals with some of the most important global issues of the day with a clarity and lightness of touch which never betray the complexity and depth of the problems... His distinctions will open up new paths in both policy formation and development.”

Kenneth Arrow, recipient of the 1972 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences 


“Like his earlier Environment and Statecraft this one is game theory at its most lucid, most valuable and most accessible--an exciting and rewarding book.”

Thomas C. Schelling, recipient of the 2005 Nobel

Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences 


“Barrett’s book should become a classic.”

Jagdish Bhagwati, author of In Defense of Globalization


“An idealistic as well as sensible prescription for how to tackle in a practical manner the genuinely complex issues of our new global era.”

Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to

President Jimmy Carter