How do elections affect international cooperation? Evidence from environmental treaty participation
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- Cazals, A. & Sauquet, A. Public Choice (2015) 162: 263. doi:10.1007/s11127-014-0221-z
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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.