International Treaty Enforcement as a Public Good: Institutional Deterrent Sanctions in International Environmental Agreements
Santa Clara Law School
Michigan Journal of International Law, Fall 2006
The problem of compliance with treaty obligations has been an area of active study in international environmental law because of its importance to the effectiveness of environmental treaties. This paper examines the problem of enforcement as an important and distinct component of compliance. First, the paper describes the general nature of the problem and the theoretical approaches that have been put forward as alternatives. Second, the paper then locates a key difficulty of environmental treaty enforcement in its public good characteristics. The paper specifically examines the public good functions of enforcement as well as the difficulties of generating this good. The paper concludes by suggesting three general approaches to overcoming these difficulties and provides a critique of the proposed non-compliance mechanism of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the Climate Change Convention.
Keywords: Treaty enforcement as public good, second order collective action problem, institutional deterrent sanctions, enforcement mechanisms, expressive function of enforcement, international environmental agreements, cost of coerced compliance, managerialism, unilateralism, identity transformation
JEL Classification: K32, K33, K42, Q00
Date posted: May 16, 2006