IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Implementing multilateral environmental agreements: an analysis of EU directives


  • Perkins, Richard
  • Neumayer, Eric


While a number of different theoretical models have been advanced to explain why states implement—or, indeed, do not implement—multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), very little empirical work has been undertaken to validate their predictions. With a view to narrowing this gap, the present article adopts a large-N, econometric approach to test the explanatory power of four distinct models of compliance—domestic adjustment, reputational, constructivist and managerial—in the context of European Union (EU) environmental policy. Using data on the number of ofıcial infringements received by 15 member states for non-implementation of environmental directives over the period 1979–2000, we ınd that all four models make a statistically signiıcant contribution to explaining spatio-temporal differences in legal implementation. Thus, our results suggest that the implementation of MEAs is shaped by a combination of rational calculations of domestic compliance costs and reputational damage, domestically institutionalized normative obligations, and legal and political constraints. We conclude by suggesting a greater need for multi-causal theoretical models of supranational legal compliance.

Suggested Citation

  • Perkins, Richard & Neumayer, Eric, 2007. "Implementing multilateral environmental agreements: an analysis of EU directives," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3056, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:3056

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Open access version.
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Haverland, Markus, 2000. "National Adaptation to European Integration: The Importance of Institutional Veto Points," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(01), pages 83-103, April.
    2. Alter, Karen J., 2000. "The European Union's Legal System and Domestic Policy: Spillover or Backlash?," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(03), pages 489-518, June.
    3. Mike Goldsmith & Helge Larsen, 2004. "Local Political Leadership: Nordic Style," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 121-133, March.
    4. Tallberg, Jonas, 2002. "Paths to Compliance: Enforcement, Management, and the European Union," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 609-643, June.
    5. W. J. Henisz, 2000. "The Institutional Environment for Economic Growth," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(1), pages 1-31, March.
    6. Per Lægreid & Runolfur Smari Steinthorsson & Baldur Thorhallsson, 2004. "Europeanization of Central Government Administration in the Nordic States," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 347-369, June.
    7. David G. Victor, 2006. "Toward Effective International Cooperation on Climate Change: Numbers, Interests and Institutions," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 6(3), pages 90-103, August.
    8. Eric Neumayer, 2001. "Improvement without Convergence: Pressure on the Environment in European Union Countries," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(5), pages 927-937, December.
    9. Johan P. Olsen, 2002. "The Many Faces of Europeanization," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(5), pages 921-952, December.
    10. Ty Solomon, 2006. "Norms and Human Rights in International Relations," Political Studies Review, Political Studies Association, vol. 4(1), pages 36-47.
    11. Daniel E. Ho, 2002. "Compliance and International Soft Law: Why Do Countries Implement the Basle Accord?," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(3), pages 647-688, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ardron, Jeff A. & Rayfuse, Rosemary & Gjerde, Kristina & Warner, Robin, 2014. "The sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity in ABNJ: What can be achieved using existing international agreements?," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 98-108.
    2. Liliana B. Andonova & Ioana A. Tuta, 2014. "Transnational Networks and Paths to EU Environmental Compliance: Evidence from New Member States," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 775-793, July.
    3. Adolph, Christopher & Quince, Vanessa & Prakash, Aseem, 2017. "The Shanghai Effect: Do Exports to China Affect Labor Practices in Africa?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 1-18.
    4. Frederic Maes & Peter Bursens, 2015. "Steering or Networking: The Impact of Europe 2020 on Regional Governance Structures," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 3(2), pages 100-116.
    5. Asif Efrat, 2016. "Promoting trade through private law: Explaining international legal harmonization," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 311-336, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:3056. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (LSERO Manager). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.