Can the management school explain noncompliance with international environmental agreements?
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Although the management school has been highly influential in the international cooperation literature, the explanatory power of Chayes and Chayes’ three explanations of noncompliance with international environmental treaties remain understudied. Having developed a framework for examining the explanatory power of treaty ambiguity, lack of state capacity, and unexpected social or economic developments, this paper conducts a rigorous empirical test in the context of a well-suited case—the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol. A careful reading shows that the language of the protocol is clear and unambiguous; indeed, there has been no disagreement over the treaty’s content. Furthermore, statistical analyses show no positive effect of political capacity on compliance. Finally, parties had adequate time to meet their obligations, and unexpected developments explain only a small part of the observed noncompliance. These findings pose a serious challenge to Chayes and Chayes’ three explanations of noncompliance—at least as far as the Gothenburg Protocol is concerned.
KeywordsInternational agreements Compliance International environmental cooperation Norms State capacity
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