Is There an Environmental Version of the Kantian Peace? Insights from Water Pollution in Europe
European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 77-102, 2010
32 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2008 Last revised: 4 Jul 2014
Date Written: December 27, 2008
This paper is now published as:
Bernauer, Thomas, Kuhn, Patrick. 2010. Is There an Environmental Version of the Kantian Peace? Insights From Water Pollution in Europe. European Journal of International Relations 16/1, 2010:77-102.
Please read and cite the published version.
We examine whether there is an environmental version of the Kantian peace; that is, whether democracies that trade and are bound by international treaties are less likely to harm each other environmentally. Specifically, we study five factors that are likely to help in reducing beggar-thy-neighbour behaviour in terms of transboundary pollution: democracy, supranational institutions, trade relations, stringency of domestic environmental policy, and international environmental commitment. The empirical focus is on upstream-downstream water pollution in Europe in 1970-2003. The observed effects of the five variables differ considerably across forms of pollution and definitions of beggar-thy-neighbour behaviour. Some of our explanatory variables contribute to reducing beggar-thy-neighbour behaviour. Hence there is some empirical support for the environmental Kantian argument. Nonetheless, state behaviour in this area remains characterized by free-riding incentives; the forces of democracy, trade, and national and international regulation and institutions do not easily produce decent international behaviour.
Keywords: International cooperation, democracy, trade, globalization, Europe, environment, water, pollution
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