Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

Document Type



Although past research has emphasized the importance of international environmental agreements in redressing environmental degradation, systematic assessments of regime effects are missing. The central focus of this paper is assessing the effectiveness of international environmental agreements: do international environmental agreements actually improve environmental quality? Most of the research in the field of environmental protection has focused on the role of economic development and the political system. Several studies have found that the relationship between a countries wealth and some pollutants follow an inverted U-shaped curve, popularly known in the literature as the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC). Again scholars have also found that democratic countries have better environmental records compared to authoritarian polities. Using generalized least squares on a panel data set consisting of sixty six countries who were members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, for a time period of ten years (1991-2000), I found that international environmental agreements exert significant influence in ensuring environmental quality. Most importantly, industrialized countries, who are again members of UNFCCC under the Annex 1 category, tend to emit less. Similarly, economic development and a democratic polity also help in ameliorating environmental condition. Therefore, one can conclude that institutions do matter, even if they are non-binding, in bringing about desired changes.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Cameron Thies