The Provision of Conflicting Public Goods : Incompatibilities among Trade Regimesand Environmental Regimes

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Dokumentart: ResearchPaper
Date: 2007
Source: Tübinger Arbeitspapiere zur Internationalen Politik und Friedensforschung ; 49
Language: English
Faculty: 6 Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Politikwissenschaft
DDC Classifikation: 320 - Political science
Keywords: Öffentliches Gut , Internationales Regime , Umwelt
Other Keywords:
international regime , public goods, global public goods, environmental public goods , environment
License: Publishing license excluding print on demand
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Bei der Betrachtung des Charakters und der Ergebnisse von Konflikten globaler Öffentlicher Güter sollte man die Konflikte der Internationalen Regime näher betrachten. Das Workingpaper behandelt hier die Politikbereiche Freihandel und Umweltschutz als Beispiel für andere internationale Politikbereiche. Freilich konfrontiert das Untersuchungsfeld Internationale Regime Forscher mit einem hochkomplexen Untersuchungsobjekt, welches lange Kausalketten und viele unterschiedliche Erklärungsfaktoen bietet, welche in Betracht gezogen werden müssen. Dennoch sollte dies niemand abstoßen, da die theoretischen und praktischen Ergebnisse überaus reichhaltig sind. Erstens betrifft dies die Beiträge zur Theorien des Institutionalismus, welche auf das internationale Niveau gehoben werden. Zweitens haben Ergebnisse der Untersuchung von Konflikten zwischen Internationalen Regimen praktische Relevanz hinsichtlich der effektiven Bereitstellung Öffentlicher Güter. Etliche Forschungsergebnisse können in Vorschläge für die Harmonisierung existierender Regulationssysteme übersetzt werden, mit einem zusätzlichen Effekt für die Herstellung Öffentlicher Güter durch diese Regulationssysteme.


This working paper calls for a closer consideration of international regime conflicts when trying to assess the character and outcome of conflicts among global public goods. This observation not only holds true for the policy domains looked at in this paper – namely free trade and environmental protection – but it should equally apply to the collision of global public goods in other issue areas. What can be expected to differ across the various domains is the plausibility of independent variables when trying to explicate the prevalence of a certain good over another. As a matter of fact, the brief discussion on the appropriateness of a particular hypothesis has already documented that looking at international regime conflicts confronts scholars with a highly complex research object, with long causal chains and many different explanatory factors which need to be taken into account. Nevertheless, this should not deter, but rather attract scholars, since the potential theoretical and practical rewards are equally tempting. First of all, dealing with regime conflicts can significantly contribute to institutionalist theories, e.g. by framing and adapting some of the existing theories in order to lift them up to the inter-regime level, or by gaining additional and innovative theoretical assumptions about the genesis or consequences of regime conflicts. And second, and most importantly, the study of international regime conflicts can have immediate practical relevance regarding the question of the effective provision of global public goods. Some of the research findings could be translated into policy propositions regarding the harmonization of present regulative systems, with a subsequent improvement in the production of the public goods by these systems. With regard to environmental public goods, for instance, it seems particularly necessary to promote the robustness of existing regimes by means of appropriate data and suggestions on how to actively handle their conflicts with other regimes – especially as long as they will not be backed up by the (rather unlikely) establishment of a (powerful) World Environment Organization (cf. Biermann/Bauer 2004). Put in pessimistic terms (from an ecological point of view), only the analysis of intersections and frictions between regimes can substantially confirm the intuitive assumption of relatively "weak" environmental regimes and public goods. Put in optimistic terms, the inter-regime approach might uncover supportive conditions for the strengthening of environmental regimes in their role as public goods producers as well as for synergetic effects of free trade and global environmental protection.

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