Int Environ Agreements (2018) 18:491–512
Can the management school explain noncompliance
with international environmental agreements?
Andreas Kokkvoll Tveit
Accepted: 8 May 2018 / Published online: 5 June 2018
© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018
Abstract Although the management school has been highly inﬂuential in the interna-
tional cooperation literature, the explanatory power of Chayes and Chayes’ three expla-
nations of noncompliance with international environmental treaties remain understudied.
Having developed a framework for examining the explanatory power of treaty ambiguity,
lack of state capacity, and unexpected social or economic developments, this paper con-
ducts a rigorous empirical test in the context of a well-suited case—the 1999 Gothenburg
Protocol. A careful reading shows that the language of the protocol is clear and unambigu-
ous; indeed, there has been no disagreement over the treaty’s content. Furthermore, statisti-
cal analyses show no positive eﬀect of political capacity on compliance. Finally, parties
had adequate time to meet their obligations, and unexpected developments explain only
a small part of the observed noncompliance. These ﬁndings pose a serious challenge to
Chayes and Chayes’ three explanations of noncompliance—at least as far as the Gothen-
burg Protocol is concerned.
Keywords International agreements · Compliance · International environmental
cooperation · Norms · State capacity
I am most grateful to Jon Hovi, two anonymous reviewers, participants at a panel at the ISA Annual
Conference in Baltimore, February 2017, and participants at CICEP’s annual research conference,
Oslo, September 2016, for constructive comments and suggestions. My research has beneﬁted greatly
from my stay at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in May 2016. Parts of
my research were carried out while at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Lysaker, Norway. Any remaining
errors are the author’s responsibility.
* Andreas Kokkvoll Tveit
Department of Political Science/Institutt for Statsvitenskap, University of Oslo, Boks 1097
Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway