Summary Report No. 52


Measuring the Effectiveness of International Environmental Regimes

C. Helm, D. F. Sprinz (May 1999)

While past research has emphasized the importance of international regimes for international governance, systematic assessments of regime effects are missing. This article derives a standardized measurement concept for the effectiveness of international environmental regimes by developing an operational rational choice calculus to evaluate actual policy simultaneously against a no-regime counterfactual and a collective optimum. Subsequently, the empirical feasibility of the measurement instrument is demonstrated by way of two international treaties regulating transboundary air pollution in Europe. The results demonstrate that the regimes indeed show positive effects - but fall substantially short of the collective optima.


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