Bernauer, Thomas Kalbhenn, Anna Koubi, Vally Ruoff, Gabi
cege Discussion Papers No. 94
We argue that participation in international agreements is influenced by their design characteristics, notably commitment levels, measured by the specificity of obligations, and compliance mechanisms, measured by monitoring, enforcement, assistance, and dispute settlement provisions in treaties. We submit that specific obligations as well as monitoring and enforcement have a negative, and assistance and dispute settlement a positive effect on participation. These arguments are tested on a new dataset that includes information on ratifications of more than 200 global environmental agreements in 1950-2006. We find that specific obligations, assistance, and dispute settlement have the expected effects. Surprisingly, our results show that the presence (or absence) of monitoring and enforcement has no effect on participation. The latter finding suggests that monitoring and enforcement through mechanisms operating outside of treaties rather than through treaty obligations themselves are likely to play a significant role.