The first-comers-late-comers pattern in international environmental agreements
International agreements on environmental issues are required to deal with the transboundary and global dimension of environmental impact from human activities at local scales. The effectiveness of the measures is linked to the type of agreement and the level of concern of all the actors, which participation in the implementation phase is instrumental. An important issue to deal with is the distributional dimension embodied in the negotiation process for reaching any international agreement on environment. The selection of environmental priorities and of the technologies to deal with the problem are heavily influenced by the different national backgrounds of the different parties involved in the international agreement under consideration. We argue that in the European Union there is a group of First-Comers countries in environmental policy that have a comparative advantage at the technological level and a stronger ecosensitivity in their natural environments. These countries have built their national environmental policies as the result of an endogenous process. They are exporting ecological concern and models of regulations to the Late-Comers in environmental policy, who are defining their own environmental policy as the result of an exogenous process derived from their membership in the European Union. Our argument is based on the empirical case of the sulphur protocols and the use of the RAINS model of simulation for acidification policies. The effectiveness of the regulations and the critical factors of success or failure in their implementation are strongly related to the nature of process - either endogenous or exogenous - whereby national environmental policies emerge and develop.
Bibliographic Reference: Paper presented: European Conference of the Regional Science Association, Zurich (CH) August 27-30, 1996
Availability: Available from (1) as Paper EN 39837 ORA
Record Number: 199611129 / Last updated on: 1996-10-28
Original language: en
Available languages: en