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Globalization, Political Regimes and International Environmental Commitment

  • Bernauer, Thomas
  • Kalbhenn, Anna
  • Koubi, Vally
  • Ruoff, Gabriele
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    In this paper we are interested in the relationship between globalization, political institutions (notably, democracy) and international environmental commitments. This relationship has been the subject of a particularly intensive debate and the existing literature offers a wide range of partly competing claims with respect to the driving forces of international environmental cooperation. While some authors argue that democracy and globalization tend to promote international efforts to mitigate or resolve environmental problems others have challenged these propositions theoretically and empirically. We argue that existing studies suffer from three weaknesses. First, they are based on very small samples of multilateral environmental treaties in respect to which commitment is coded (usually in terms of treaty ratification) and are cross-sectional. Second, they examine the effects of globalization and political institutions on international environmental policy separately and ignore potential joint effects. Third, they ignore interdependency (diffusion) effects - i.e., they do not account for the possibility that international commitment of one country is likely to depend on what other countries and specific types or groups of other countries do (network effects). Based on a new panel dataset that includes the commitments of 180 countries with regard to international environmentaltreaties from 1902 to 2005 we study whether and how international economic and political integration, and domestic political institutions jointly affect international environmental commitments. We also study interdependency (network) effects on our dependent variable. Our preliminary results show that the net effect of democracy on environmental cooperation is rather diffuse and so is the effect of economic integration (trade openness).

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    File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/39882/1/AEL_2008_1_bernauer.pdf
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    Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics in its series Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Zurich 2008 with number 1.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec08:1
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    1. Martin C. McGuire & Mancur Olson Jr., 1996. "The Economics of Autocracy and Majority Rule: The Invisible Hand and the Use of Force," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 72-96, March.
    2. Werner Antweiler & Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 1998. "Is Free Trade Good for the Environment?," NBER Working Papers 6707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Frederiksen, Anders & Honore, Bo E. & Hu, Luojia, 2007. "Discrete time duration models with group-level heterogeneity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 141(2), pages 1014-1043, December.
    4. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 2005. "Is Trade Good or Bad for the Environment? Sorting Out the Causality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 85-91, February.
    5. Selden Thomas M. & Song Daqing, 1994. "Environmental Quality and Development: Is There a Kuznets Curve for Air Pollution Emissions?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 147-162, September.
    6. Micahael Tomz & Jason Wittenberg & Gary King, . "Clarify: Software for Interpreting and Presenting Statistical Results," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(i01).
    7. Kurt J. Beron & James C. Murdoch & Wim P. M. Vijverberg, 2003. "Why Cooperate? Public Goods, Economic Power, and the Montreal Protocol," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 286-297, May.
    8. Mansfield, Edward D. & Milner, Helen V. & Rosendorff, B. Peter, 2002. "Why Democracies Cooperate More: Electoral Control and International Trade Agreements," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 477-513, June.
    9. Congleton, Roger D, 1992. "Political Institutions and Pollution Control," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 412-21, August.
    10. Beck, Nathaniel & Katz, Jonathan N., 2000. "Throwing out the Baby with the Bath Water: A Comment on Green, Yoon and Kim," Working Papers 1090, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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