International Environmental Policy

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

“The Global Climate Regime: Explaining Lagging Reform” 2014. Review of Policy Research 31(3): 173-198.

Abstract: There has been growing demand for reform of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to meet the demands for action on climate change. How have governments met the demand for action on climate change despite the lagging pace of UNFCCC reform? New qualitative data demonstrate that the institutional, sectoral, and technical aspects of international institutions have guided government choices in managing climate change issues. Institutional resources and sectoral participation in multilateral institutions have enabled governments to handle climate change issues outside the UNFCCC, reducing the need to invest in its reform as demand for action has grown. These specialized institutions are able to mitigate political disputes and facilitate greater efficacy in handling specific issues such as financing and emissions mitigation. They have mandates that overlap with the cross-cutting agenda of climate change governance, requiring no new mandates, which mitigates potential political disputes.

Presented at the 2012 Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association and the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (cancelled).

Working Papers 

“The Irony of Power: Polluter Concentration and International Environmental Regulation"

Abstract: Concentrated groups are commonly believed to have an advantage over diffuse groups in organizing to shape government regulation. Yet concentrated polluters have been more conducive to reducing environmental pollution than diffuse polluters under international regulation. What explains this pattern? This paper argues that concentrated producer markets are conducive to sustained and integrated environmental regulation because they promote technological innovation and international transfers. They provide conditions for integrated rules and institutions that take advantage of synergies between different regulations. By contrast, diffuse producer and consumer markets are less conducive to technological innovation and international transfers. They prompt “complex governance,” in which regulation is localized and disconnected. Original survey responses from government negotiators and non-government stakeholders in the international management of chemicals and land use substantiate this argument. Government negotiators and non-government stakeholders believe technology is more useful in managing pollution from chemicals than from land use and that international transfers have a more precise role in managing pollution from chemicals than from land use. Moreover, chemicals pollution is more conducive to integrated and narrow regulation than land use pollution. The findings advance the study of regulation and collective action by explaining how concentrated polluters help governments to reduce environmental pollution more than diffuse polluters, contrary to the view that concentrated groups are harder to regulate. 

Presented at the 2013 Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association, the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Columbia University (invited talk), and the 2014 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association.

"Sectors and the Form of Global Environmental Governance"

Abstract: Governments have incentives to form integrated rules and institutions when they pursue global environmental cooperation. Under what conditions do they form un-integrated rules and institutions? This paper demonstrates that the concentration of sectors regulated by a global environmental treaty regime shapes whether governments form integrated or un-integrated cooperation. Governments form integrated cooperation on global environmental problems stemming from sectors with concentrated markets. They form un-integrated cooperation on problems stemming from sectors with diffuse markets. National preferences converge on cooperation when the environmental problem stems from stakeholders in economically concentrated markets. Preferences diverge when the environmental problem stems from sectors with economically diffuse markets. Consequently, governments use independent agreements in regulating sectors with diffuse economic actors and but use integrated agreements in regulating sectors involving concentrated economic actors. Statistical analysis of 18 global environmental treaty processes demonstrates that governments form un-integrated regimes on agriculture and land use but form integrated regimes on industrial pollutants. Qualitative data from a focused comparison of climate change governance and ozone layer governance show how sectoral concentrations shaped national preferences over the rules and institutions on these two atmospheric issues. Overall, governments tailor the form of global environmental cooperation to the concentration of the regulated sectors.

Presented at the 2013 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association and the 2014 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association.

"Regional Water Cooperation: Incentives for Integrated Management" (under review)

Abstract: When do governments achieve integrated management of regional water? One explanation suggests that having more states bordering a regional water body lowers the prospects of integrated management. Another explanation contends that the prospects of integrated management vary with the interdependence among states in using the water. The analysis employs original panel data on the agreement histories of 76 rivers, lakes, and seas. It also examines the role of selective incentives in promoting water management. Fundamentally, the number of states with access to the water does not determine the fate of integrated water management. Strategies for overcoming divergent preferences can be applied across situations. The key is to provide incentives when states are asymmetrically interdependent in using the water. These incentives need to be selective when states are asymmetrically vulnerable to water disturbances, particularly in settings with few states. The findings contribute to the study of water management and international cooperation.

Presented at the 2012 Annual Conference on the Political Economy of International Organizations, the 2012 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, and the 2013 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association.

Work in Progress

“Policies and Institutions for Environmental Technologies” (with Johannes Urpelainen)

Invited Publications

"Danube River Cooperation in Comparative Perspective" Danube Watch. 2/2013. Published by the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (Vienna, Austria)