International Treaty Enforcement as a Public Good: Institutional Deterrent Sanctions in International Environmental Agreements

Posted: 16 May 2006  

Tseming Yang

Santa Clara Law School

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Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Yang, Tseming, International Treaty Enforcement as a Public Good: Institutional Deterrent Sanctions in International Environmental Agreements. Michigan Journal of International Law, Fall 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=900919 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.329080

Tseming Yang (Contact Author)

Santa Clara Law School ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States
408-551-6037 (Phone)

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