The State Executive's Signature of Environmental Treaties: Ego and the International Community
52 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2011 Last revised: 1 Jul 2014
Date Written: April 6, 2012
The non-binding signature of environmental treaties appears to be a costless, symbolic gesture and the lack of attention it has received in the literature suggests that previous scholars have implicitly subscribed to this view. However, this paper argues that signature is often a contentious political decision that allows the state executive to claim value from the process by which international environmental policy is created. A comprehensive review of state treaty commitment rules, both domestic and international, alongside evidence from a new dataset of 53 environmental treaties from 1980-2000 demonstrates that signature is a visible, political action fundamentally different from ratification and that the state executive uses this action primarily in the pursuit of ego rents and in response to socialization pressures from the international community.
Keywords: signature, ratification, treaties, environmental agreements
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