Democracy and state environmental commitment to international environmental treaties

Original Paper

Abstract

One of the current research endeavors in international environmental politics is understanding the link between democracy and international environmental protection. Scholars in the field seek to identify the international and domestic factors that increase state commitment to international environmental treaties and agreements. Counter to the traditional literature on international environmental commitment, this paper reconceptualizes both traditional and alternative theories in order to identify domestic institutional factors that may increase state cooperation with international environmental agreements. In particular, this study posits that democratic governments in comparison to authoritarian governments increase state compliance with international environmental agreements; however, there may be domestic environmental conditions, such as limited access to clean water that may constrain democracies in participating in international environmental agreements. This study presents a quantitative analysis measuring the effects of democracy on state compliance behaviors with international environmental agreements. The results of the study provide support for an alternative bottom-up theoretical framework focusing on domestic environmental politics in addressing international environmental agreements.

Keywords

International environmental commitment International environmental treaties and agreements Democracy Access to clean water Environmental protection 

Abbreviations

CFC

Chlorofluorocarbon

GDP

Gross domestic product

HST

Hegemonic stability theory

IEO

International environmental organization

NGO

Non-governmental organization

OLS

Ordinary least squares

PR

Proportional representation

SMDP

Single-member district plurality

UNEP

United Nations environmental program

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceKent State University at Stark CampusNorth CantonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of California, RiversideRiversideUSA

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