Environment and Statecraft: The Strategy of Environmental Treaty-Making / Edition 1

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Overview

Environmental problems like global climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion can only be remedied if states cooperate with one another. But sovereign states usually care only about their own interests. So states must somehow restructure the incentives to make cooperation pay. This is what treaties are meant to do.

A few treaties, such as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, succeed. Most, however, fail to alter the state behavior appreciably. This book develops theory that explains both the successes and the failures. In particular, the book explains when treaties are needed, why some work better than others, and how treaty design can be improved. The best treaties strategically manipulate the incentives states have to exploit the environment, and the theory developed in this book shows how treaties can do this.

The theory integrates a number of disciplines, including economics, political science, international law, negotiation analysis, and game theory. It also offers a coherent and consistent approach. The essential assumption is that treaties be self-enforcing that is, individually rational, collectively rational and fair.

The book applies the theory to a number of environmental problems. It provides information on more than three-hundred treaties, and analyses a number of case studies in detail. These include depletion of the ozone layer, whaling, pollution of the Rhine, acid rain, over-fishing, pollution of the oceans, and global climate change.

The essential lesson of the book is that treaties should not just tell countries what to do. Treaties must make it in the interests of countries to behave differently. That is, they must restructure the underlying game. Most importantly, they must create incentives for states to participate in a treaty and for parties to comply.

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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
Barrett, a professor of economics at John Hopkins University, asks why some treaties are successful, some are mere showpieces with no effect, and still others are demonstrable failures. His focus is on resource conservation and the environment, although his analysis applies to other treaties as well. The main concern here is compliance with agreed commitments and the closely related issue of willingness to make treaty commitments in the first place. Using a game-theory framework augmented by numerical and real-life examples, Barrett makes conceptual points and then skillfully applies them to a host of environmental treaties, from the Fur Seal Treaty of 1911 (a sucess) to the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 (bound to fail). In addition to making a significant contribution to the analysis of treaty commitments among states, Barrett offers interesting analysis on the large inventory of environmental treaties currently in force.
From the Publisher
"A truly important contribution to the literature on international environmental cooperation. Because in most parts its style is not too technical, it makes modern economics also accessible to nonexpert readers. Therefore, Barrett's monograph not only deserves to have many readers but can also be expected to get them."—Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics

"In addition to making a significant contribution to the analysis of treaty commitments among states Barrett offers interesting analysis on the large inventory of environmental treaties currently in force."—Foreign Affairs

"Environment and Statecraft is an extremely valuable contribution to the literature. As a descriptive matter, its rich and nuanced discussions of various treaties (including the North Pacific Fur Seal Treaty, Montreal Protocol, and Kyoto Protocol) significantly add to our understanding of these treaties. Barrett traces with skill and insight the policy challenges facing international lawmakers."—The American Journal of International Law

As Scott Barrett notes in his important new book, the number of international environmental agreements has soared in recent decades, mainly because the international environmental impact of human activity has increased dramatically. Some of these agreements work effectively, while others are weak and ineffectual. Barrett's rigorous combination of game theory and environmental analysis illuminates the reasons for these successes and failures. Even more importantly, the book offers key tools for improved international environmental management in the years ahead, in an era when global wellbeing will depend critically on successful environmental statecraft.' -Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Advisor to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan

Contrary to many theoretical analyses, Scott Barrett presents an ingenious theory of how nation states may be able to overcome dilemmas and protect transboundary environmental resources. Any theory that successfully helps to explain international agreements regarding biodiversity, the ozone layer, global climate as well as diverse fisheries is a powerful theory. Students of international relations as well as of environmental science will have many useful lessons to learn from a careful reading of this book.' -Elinor Ostrom, Co-Director, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, and Center for the Study of Institutions, Population and Environmental Change, Indiana University

Drawing on a range of intellectual disciplines including international relations, economics, international law, and game theory as well as a sweeping review of the existing set of environmental treaties, Scott Barrett offers a series of insights on what is required for successful global-scale environmental cooperation. The book will be a significant addition to the environmental literature.' -Dan Esty, Director, Yale Center for Environmental Law Policy

'Scott Barrett has produced a readable, understandable, and successful application of elementary game theory to the incentives that determine whether international treaties succeed or fail, and to the incentives to participate and, if participating, to comply. Barrett's mastery of incentive theory makes a lot of puzzling issues clear. From fur seals to ozone to carbon dioxide he has a theoretical framework that makes impressive sense.' -Thomas C. Schelling, Distinguished University Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, University of Maryland

"Every now and again, a treatise appears that alters the way we see events in an important way. Scott Barrett's Environment and Statecraft is one of those works. More than a decade in preparation, Barrett's book is a craft of inventiveness, meticulous research, intellectual insight and surprise . . . . Barrett's book is probably one of the most important publications in the last few decades in the contect of the increasingly important arena of global environmental problems . . . For students of politics, economics, and the environment,for the negotiatiors and politicians, this is a book to be carried round like a proverbial bible." — Times Higher Education Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199286096
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/5/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Barrett is Professor of Environmental Economics and International Political Economy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. The North Pacific Fur Seal Treaty and the Theory of International Cooperation
3. Transnational Cooperation Dilemmas
4. Games with Multiple Equilibria
5. Customary Rights and Responsibilities
6. International Environmental Agreements
7. The Treaty Participation Game
8. The Montreal Protocol
9. Tipping Treaties
10. Compliance and the Strategy of Reciprocity
11. The Depth and Breadth of International Cooperation
12. Trade Leakage and Trade Linkage
13. The Side Payments Game
14. Summary
15. Global Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol

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