Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor

Michael E. Smith - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

David C. Nixon - Committee Member

Third Advisor

John S. Duffield - Committee Member


This study attempts to systematically analyze the determinants of state participation in International Environmental Agreements (IEAs). The study focuses on two core elements: (i) IEA characteristics; and (ii) state characteristics. Hypotheses for state participation in IEAs are formulated based on the two main International Relations theories dealing with cooperation – Realism and Liberalism. The study presents five different models for state participation in IEAs. The first model analyzes the influence of treaty variables, while the remaining four focus on state variables. The second and third models analyze the influence of Realist and Liberal variables respectively. The fourth model specifically focuses on variables which reflect the various socio-economic, political and logistical constraints of developing countries. The fifth model presents an integrated analysis of participation based on the previous models. Results of the study show that participation can be understood in terms of both the Realist and Liberal variables, and that there can be no rarefied partitioning of those factors on participation. More specifically, the study empirically demonstrates that state participation in IEAs is influenced by the following four main factors: (i) the impact of domestic and international institutions (ii) human development; (iii) power motivations; and (iv) IEA design. Policies proposed to increase participation in IEAs therefore have to enhance any positive influence exerted by these parameters, and mitigate their negative influences, if any.