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An empirical analysis of participation in international environmental agreements

Bellelli, Francesco S.; Scarpa, Riccardo; Aftab, Ashar


Francesco S. Bellelli


This study investigates the determinants of participation in environmental agreements, with a special focus on lobbying and regional agreements. To this end, we collated the largest ratification dataset in the literature and identified all countries eligible for membership in each agreement. This feature allows us to correct the identification bias associated with the misidentification of the risk set when regional agreements are included in the regression sample. We also improve the treatment of unobserved heterogeneity by using a multilevel survival approach and Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) estimator. Overall, we find that countries’ participation choices are interrelated and primarily driven by the agreements’ characteristics. Our findings indicate that regional agreements are two and half times more likely to be ratified than global agreements and that environmental lobbying positively affects participation in environmental agreements, while the effect of industrial lobbying is statistically insignificant. This result is robust to changes in specification and proxies used. Our results motivate several policy suggestions. We emphasise regional agreements’ capacity to deliver higher participation than global agreements and the importance of securing the early ratification of key players.


Bellelli, F. S., Scarpa, R., & Aftab, A. (2023). An empirical analysis of participation in international environmental agreements. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 118, Article 102783.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 4, 2023
Online Publication Date Jan 14, 2023
Publication Date 2023-03
Deposit Date Jan 5, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 15, 2024
Journal Journal of Environmental Economics and Management
Print ISSN 0095-0696
Electronic ISSN 1096-0449
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 118
Article Number 102783
Public URL