Original Paper

International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 129-144

First online:

Strategies in international regime negotiations: reflecting background conditions or shaping outcomes?

  • Arild UnderdalAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, University of Oslo Email author 

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Negotiation behaviour is usually seen as an intervening variable—adapted to structural and institutional conditions, but with sufficient degrees of freedom to leave its own imprint on outcomes. Little is known, however, about the extent to which negotiation behaviour in fact shapes outcomes. This paper addresses that question, building on data from the Miles et al. (Environmental regime effectiveness: confronting theory with evidence. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2002) environmental regimes project. Four main conclusions can be inferred from the analysis. First, the Miles et al. core model seems to account for a fair amount of the variance observed in the strategies adopted by “pushers” and “laggards,” but it also leaves ample scope for other explanations. Second, both of these groups respond to the choice of strategy made by the other. Third, adding negotiation strategies to the Miles et al. core model does not significantly change the conclusions obtained from that model itself. Finally, sometimes negotiation strategies—in particular combinations of strategies—nevertheless make a real difference, often through interplay with other factors. To better understand when and how this occurs, we need models that are more sophisticated and a combination of methodological tools designed for aggregating as well as separating effects.


Environmental regimes Regime effectiveness Negotiations Negotiation strategies