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The determinants of environmental policy and diplomacy; An empirical investigation of participation in environmental treaties and the influence of domestic groups

BELLELLI, FRANCESCO,SAVERIO (2019) The determinants of environmental policy and diplomacy; An empirical investigation of participation in environmental treaties and the influence of domestic groups. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Why do countries join environmental agreements? What determines the success or failure of an environmental agreement? In this thesis we look at the determinants of participation in environmental agreements, paying special attention to the role played by domestic interest groups and the quality of institutions. To answer our research questions, we assembled the largest participation data set in the literature. This data set contains both global and regional agreements. Unlike previous data sets, it identifies the potential members of every treaty. This allows us to correct the identification bias subsisting in previous works. In this thesis we use a multilevel survival model to study the determinants of participation in environmental agreements. Our methodological approach introduces a number of improvements over previous empirical works, in particular with reference to the treatment of unobserved heterogeneity. It is also the first time a Bayesian technique (MCMC) is used in the estimation of participation models.

We expand the traditional framework of analysis with a study of the implementation stage of treaties. In this respect, we study five different variables that capture how a country fares in terms of environmental policies. It is the first time a study of participation is conducted jointly with the analysis of domestic policies. This framework yields interesting conclusions on the determinants of international cooperation and their final impact on environmental commitments. Our findings show that environmental lobbying has a positive effect on participation in environmental agreements, while the effect of industrial lobbying is statistically insignificant. This unexpected result is robust to changes in specification and proxies used. We reveal that similar results for industrial lobbying had been obtained in previous empirical studies. However, this relationship has never been investigated in detail. We advance an explanation based on the lobbying preferences of environmental and industrial interest groups. The explanation is tested on domestic policies; the results show that a dichotomy exists in the way environmental and industrial pressure is exerted. Environmental influence focuses on treaty participation choices and other normative governmental measures. On the contrary, industrial lobbies prefer to target the implementation stage of environmental agreements, especially the measures that are more rewarding in economic terms. We also find evidence that institutions play a vital role in fostering participation in environmental agreements, and that interest groups tend to be more influential when the quality of institutions is lower.

The study draws a number of policy suggestions. We stress the capacity of regional agreements to deliver higher participation rates than global agreements. We also highlight the importance of securing the participation of key players in the initial years to promote adherence to the agreement. Finally, we illustrate how our model can be used to generate probabilities of joining environmental agreements. The content of this thesis is relevant to treaty negotiators and any entity that has an economic or private interest in environmental agreements.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:environmental agreements; ratification; IEA; environmental policy; political economy; multilevel survival modelling; MCMC; panel analysis
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Business
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:31 Oct 2019 08:22

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