Public Choice

, Volume 162, Issue 3–4, pp 263–285 | Cite as

How do elections affect international cooperation? Evidence from environmental treaty participation

Article

Abstract

Is there a strategically beneficial time for political leaders to make international environmental commitments? Based on the political cycles theory, we argue that leaders have incentives to delay costly ratification of international environmental agreements to the post-electoral period. However, the cost of participating in these agreements is often lower for developing countries, and they may enjoy indirect advantages, which may make them more prone to ratifying in the pre-electoral period. These hypotheses are assessed empirically by studying the ratification process of 41 global environmental agreements censused in the Environmental Treaties and Resources Indicators’ database from 1976 to 1999. We use a duration model in which time is measured on a daily basis, enabling us to precisely identify pre- and post-electoral periods—a significant challenge in political cycles studies. Our investigation reveals the existence of political ratification cycles that are of substantial magnitude and non-linear over the pre- and post-electoral years.

Keywords

International environmental agreements Political cycles Ratification Duration model 

JEL Classification

C41 F53 H41 Q53 Q56 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International (CERDI), CNRS, UMR 6587Clermont Université, Université d’AuvergneClermont-FerrandFrance

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