When and Why Do Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations Make a Difference? Explaining the Marginal Impact of ENGOs in Different Types of Democratic Systems

Böhmelt, T., Bernauer, T., Koubi, V. When and Why Do Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations Make a Difference? Explaining the Marginal Impact of ENGOs in Different Types of Democratic Systems. European Political Science Review, Forthcoming

50 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2013

See all articles by Tobias Böhmelt

Tobias Böhmelt

ETH Zurich

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich

Vally Koubi

University of Bern - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 5, 2013

Abstract

Conventional wisdom suggests that environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) play a major role in pushing states towards more ambitious environmental policies. However, demonstrating that this presumption is in fact true is rather difficult, because the same system structures of democracies that may create more opportunities for ENGO activities are also, on their own, conducive to better environmental policies. This leaves open the possibility that the additional (marginal) impact of ENGOs on policy-making is smaller than presumed. In trying to disentangle these effects, this paper examines the influence of ENGOs contingent on key structural characteristics of democratic systems. We develop the argument that presidential systems with a plurality electoral rule per se tend to provide more environmental public goods, which induces a smaller marginal impact of ENGOs. Conversely, parliamentary systems with a proportional representation electoral rule are likely to provide fewer environmental public goods, which allows for a larger marginal impact of ENGOs. We find robust empirical support for these hypotheses in analyses that focus on the ratification behavior of 75 democracies vis-à-vis 250 international environmental agreements in 1973-2002.

Keywords: democracy; environmental non-governmental organizations; international environmental politics, parliamentary systems, presidential systems, plurality voting, proportional representation

Suggested Citation

Böhmelt, Tobias and Bernauer, Thomas and Koubi, Vally, When and Why Do Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations Make a Difference? Explaining the Marginal Impact of ENGOs in Different Types of Democratic Systems (December 5, 2013). Böhmelt, T., Bernauer, T., Koubi, V. When and Why Do Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations Make a Difference? Explaining the Marginal Impact of ENGOs in Different Types of Democratic Systems. European Political Science Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2364002

Tobias Böhmelt (Contact Author)

ETH Zurich

Rämistrasse 101
ZUE F7
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich ( email )

Center for Comparative and International Studies
Building IFW, office 45.1, Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich 8092, 8092
Switzerland
+41 44 632 6466 (Phone)
+41 44 632 1289 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ib.ethz.ch

Vally Koubi

University of Bern - Department of Economics ( email )

Schanzeneckstrasse 1
Bern, CH-3001
Switzerland

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