Does Trade Openness Promote Multilateral Environmental Cooperation?
World Economy, 25 (6), 2002, pp. 815-832
31 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2012
Date Written: 2002
This article puts forward a number of arguments why trade openness might promote multilateral environmental cooperation. Most of these arguments are grounded in the substantive self-interest of the trading country. It tests the proposition using a range of proxy variables for general trade openness as well as specific export interests. The article examines whether countries open to trade are more likely to have signed three recent multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and are more likely to have ratified early on another three agreements with quasi-universal membership. After controlling for income, political freedom and population size, the empirical estimations find some weak evidence in favour of a possible synergy between trade openness and multilateral environmental cooperation. World Trade Organization membership as well as general export openness go hand in hand with greater willingness to participate in multilateral environmental cooperation in some cases. However, whether specific trade interests promote or hinder multilateral environmental cooperation depends on whether the relevant agreement is likely to threaten or accommodate the interests of exporting countries.
Keywords: trade openness, environmental commitment, multilateral environmental agreement, export interests, ratification speed
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