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The effectiveness of international environmental agreements


  • Jürg Vollenweider



Many argue that international environmental agreements (IEAs) can alter states’ cost-benefit analyses by providing crucial information about the costs of environmental degradation. Thereby, IEAs may help to effectively curb environmental pollution. However, previous attempts to empirically measure institutional effectiveness found it difficult to provide credible estimates because they have missed to produce convincing counterfactuals. This study empirically estimates the effectiveness of one prominent example of an international environmental institution, the Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution agreement (LRTAP). It sets forth a transparent identification strategy in light of latest advancements in the causal inference literature and presents evidence for the non-effectiveness of the LRTAP in changing member states’ behavior in terms of anthropogenic emissions of two substances (NO x and SO 2 ). By deriving and illustrating the use of difference-in- differences (DID) design in the context of IEAs, this study provides a general methodological tool kit to drawing causal inferences about the effectiveness of international environmental institutions. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Jürg Vollenweider, 2013. "The effectiveness of international environmental agreements," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 343-367, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ieaple:v:13:y:2013:i:3:p:343-367 DOI: 10.1007/s10784-012-9193-y

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2005. "Fixed-Effects and Related Estimators for Correlated Random-Coefficient and Treatment-Effect Panel Data Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 385-390, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yoomi Kim & Katsuya Tanaka & Shunji Matsuoka, 2017. "Institutional Mechanisms and the Consequences of International Environmental Agreements," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 17(1), pages 77-98, February.


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