International Environmental Law and Emotional Rational Choice
Peter H. Huang
University of Colorado Law School
Journal of Legal Studies, 2002, Forthcoming
This paper considers how emotions can foster compliance by rational actors with international environmental law. Many environmental issues are highly emotionally charged. Both supporters of and opponents to international environmental law often feel very strongly about their positions and views. A psychological game-theoretic model focuses on the disciplinary role that losing face may play in compliance with international environmental law. This model implies that non-compliance, especially by high-profile international actors, should be highly and swiftly publicized upon detection and verification. The model also explains why actors care so much about soft, that is, non-binding international environmental law, such as international environmental declarations, protocols, or resolutions.
Keywords: international environmental law, compliance, losing face, psychological games
JEL Classification: K32, K33, Z13
Date posted: June 6, 2002