Thomas Bernauer. 1995. "The Effect of International Environmental Institutions: How We Might Learn More." International Organization 49(2): 351-77.
- Current deficiencies in researching international environmental institutions:
- Dependent variables (institutional effect, effectiveness, efficiency, etc.) and explanatory variables (institutions and their features) are ill-defined and rarely married to a coherent theory.
- Analysts have focused on whether the existence or operation of institutions per se has an effect on actor behavior and other outcomes. Virtually no work has offered generalizable and empirically substantiated knowledge regarding which institutional design variables are critical to the success or failure of institutions under specific conditions.
- The outcome to be explained when researching international environmental institutions is measured in terms of goal attainment. Goal attainment is defined as the difference, over time or across cases, between actor behavior or the state of the natural environment along dimensions identified by institutional goals, on the one hand, and certain endpoints defined by institutional goals, on the other.
- The effect of an institution is measured in terms of the extent to which existence or operation of the institution contributes, ceteris paribus, to variation in goal attainment.
- The effect of variation along specific dimensions of institutional design (such as decision-making rules, membership and access conditions, and the compliance system) is analyzed.