The Review of International Organizations

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 319–336 | Cite as

International Public Goods and Agency Problems in Treaty Organizations

Article

Abstract

This paper analyzes the extent to which international public goods and agency problems are present in international organizations. A noncooperative model of the funding choices of donor countries and the subsequent policy choices of an international agency is used to develop hypotheses about the behavior of ideal and problematic international agencies. The analysis suggests that international agencies are likely to be underfunded and undermonitored relative to that which maximizes the joint interest of signatory countries. The funding and policy implications of the model are tested using data from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The statistical results suggest that (i) treaty obligations affect behavior of Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 countries, (ii) GEF’s allocation of grants generally advances the international environmental agenda, and (iii) significant free-riding and agency problems exist in GEF as it is presently organized. Overall, the empirical results suggest that treaty organizations may be relatively effective, if not perfect, instruments of international public policy.

Keywords

agency problems treaty organizations environmental treaties GEF political economy public choice globalization of politics effectiveness of treaty organizations international organizations 

JEL codes

H0 D7 Q2 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Coase, R. H. (1960). The problem of social cost. Journal of Law and Economics, 3, 1–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Congleton, R. D. (1980). A model of asymmetric bureaucratic inertia. Public Choice, 39, 421–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Congleton, R. D. (1992). Political institutions and pollution control. Review of Economics and Statistics, 74, 412–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Congleton, R. D. (1995). Toward a transactions cost theory of environmental treaties: Substantive and symbolic environmental agreements. Economia Delle Scelte Pubbliche, 119–139.Google Scholar
  5. Congleton, R. D. (2002). Agency problems and the allocation of international environmental grants: The return to Rio. Economia Delle Scelte Pubbliche, 20, 125–146.Google Scholar
  6. Congleton, R. D. (2004). Mutual advantages of coercion and exit within private clubs and treaty organizations: Toward a logic of voluntary association. Revista de Political Economy, 94, 283–311.Google Scholar
  7. Cornes, R., & Sandler, T. (1996). The theory of externalities, public goods and club goods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Dixit, A., Grossman, G. M., & Helpman, E. (1997). Common agency and coordination: General theory and application to government policymaking. The Journal of Political Economy, 105, 752–769.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fredriksson, P. G., Neumayer, E., Damania, R., & Gates S. (2005). Environmentalism, democracy, and pollution control. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 49, 343–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Freedom House (2006). Freedom int the world country rankings. http://www.freedomhouse.org/uploads/FIWrank7305.xls.
  11. GEF Annual Report (2004). Producing results for the global environment. Global Environmental Facility. http://www.gefweb.org/Document/AnnualReport_2004.pdf.
  12. Hoel, M. (1991). Global environment problems: The effects of unilateral actions taken by one country. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 21, 55–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Murdoch, J. C., & Sandler, T. (1997). The voluntary provision of a pure public good: The case of reduced CFCs emissions and the Montreal protocol. Journal of Public Economics, 63, 331–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Niskanen, W. A. Jr. (1971). Bureaucracy and representative government. Chicago: Aldine-Atherton.Google Scholar
  15. Schulze, G. G., & Ursprung, H. W. (Eds.) (2001). Globalization and the environment. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Telser, L. (1980). A theory of self-enforcing agreements. Journal of Business, 53, 27–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Vaubel, R., & Willett, T. D. (Eds.) (1991). The political economy of international organizations. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  18. Weingast, B. R., & Moran, M. J. (1983). Bureaucratic discretion or congressional control? Regulatory policymaking in the federal trade commission. Journal of Political Economy, 91, 765–800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. World Development Indicators (2006). World Bank. http://www.devdata.worldbank.org/dataquery.

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Study of Public ChoiceGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

Personalised recommendations