In This Review

Environment and Statecraft: The Strategy of Environmental Treaty-Making
Environment and Statecraft: The Strategy of Environmental Treaty-Making
By Scott Barrett
Oxford University Press, 2003, 360 pp
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Barrett, a professor of economics at John Hopkins University, asks why some treaties are successful, some are mere showpieces with no effect, and still others are demonstrable failures. His focus is on resource conservation and the environment, although his analysis applies to other treaties as well. The main concern here is compliance with agreed commitments and the closely related issue of willingness to make treaty commitments in the first place. Using a game-theory framework augmented by numerical and real-life examples, Barrett makes conceptual points and then skillfully applies them to a host of environmental treaties, from the Fur Seal Treaty of 1911 (a sucess) to the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 (bound to fail). In addition to making a significant contribution to the analysis of treaty commitments among states, Barrett offers interesting analysis on the large inventory of environmental treaties currently in force.