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Flexibility provisions in multilateral environmental treaties

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Author Info

  • B. Boockmann

    ()

  • Paul Thurner

    ()

Abstract

In international politics, intergovernmental treaties provide the rules of the game. Similar to private law, treaty designers face a trade-off between flexibility to adjust to unforeseen contingencies and the danger that the binding nature of the treaty and hence, the level of commitment by treaty members, is being undermined if the treaty can be amended too easily. In this paper, we address this problem in the analytical framework of institutional economics, drawing in particular on the incomplete contracts literature. Furthermore, we derive preliminary hypotheses and operational concepts for the measurement of flexibility in international treaties. Based on 400 treaties and supplementary agreements from the field of international environmental law, we provide new insights into the combined application of rules for adoption and entry into force of amendments, as well as provisions for conflict resolution and interpretative development. Using correspondence analysis, we show that treaty provisions can be represented in a two-dimensional property space, where treaties can be arrayed according to the degree of institutionalisation as well as along a flexibility dimension. --

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10784-006-9001-7
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 6 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 113-135

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Handle: RePEc:spr:ieaple:v:6:y:2006:i:2:p:113-135

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Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/10784

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Related research

Keywords: Flexibility; Incomplete contracting; Quantitative treaty analysis;

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References

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  1. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1985. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Working papers 367, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Alan Schwartz & Joel Watson, . "The Law and Economics of Costly Contracting," Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy Working Paper Series yale_lepp-1004, Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy.
  3. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
  4. Koremenos, Barbara, 2001. "Loosening the Ties that Bind: A Learning Model of Agreement Flexibility," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(02), pages 289-325, March.
  5. Thompson, Alexander, 2002. "Applying Rational Choice Theory to International Law: The Promise and Pitfalls," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages S285-306, January.
  6. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2001. "The Hold-Up Problem and Incomplete Contracts: A Survey of Recent Topics in Contract Theory," MPRA Paper 12562, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Rogerson, William P, 1992. "Contractual Solutions to the Hold-Up Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 777-93, October.
  8. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  10. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-82, March.
  11. Rosendorff, B. Peter & Milner, Helen V., 2001. "The Optimal Design of International Trade Institutions: Uncertainty and Escape," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(04), pages 829-857, September.
  12. Giovannoni, Francesco, 2003. " Amendment Rules in Constitutions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 115(1-2), pages 37-61, April.
  13. Jolls, Christine, 1997. "Contracts as Bilateral Commitments: A New Perspective on Contract Modification," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 203-37, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Andrea Gerlak & Jonathan Lautze & Mark Giordano, 2011. "Water resources data and information exchange in transboundary water treaties," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 179-199, May.

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