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Title: Institutional diffusion for the Minamata Convention on Mercury
Authors: Uji, Azusa
Author's alias: 宇治, 梓紗
Keywords: Environmental treaty
Minamata Convention on Mercury
Institutional design
Issue Date: Apr-2019
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Journal title: International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics
Volume: 19
Issue: 2
Start page: 169
End page: 185
Abstract: A trinity composed of legally binding regulations, an independent financial mechanism, and a compliance mechanism characterizes the institutional design of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Meanwhile, few existing environmental treaties feature an independent financial mechanism as well as a compliance mechanism. Why did the Minamata Convention acquire two mechanisms? There are two rival hypotheses on uncertainty about institutional consequences and international agreements. The rational design school posits that countries can predict institutional consequences by acquiring all pieces of relevant information and views the trinity as a rational design to enhance developing countries’ regulatory capabilities under strict compliance. In contrast, the institutional diffusion school assumes that countries have limited information-processing abilities and use cognitive heuristics in designing institutions and argues that countries designed the trinity by learning from existing cases. In this paper, I compare the negotiations process of the Minamata Convention with that of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). To test the hypotheses, I examine how countries resolved informational uncertainty in both negotiations by utilizing negotiations records and personal interviews with key officials as data. The analytical results support the institutional diffusion hypothesis by indicating that the trinity within the Minamata Convention is a product of countries’ heuristic and incremental learning from existing treaties.
Rights: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in 'International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics'. The final authenticated version is available online at:
The full-text file will be made open to the public on 25 February 2020 in accordance with publisher's 'Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving'.
This is not the published version. Please cite only the published version. この論文は出版社版でありません。引用の際には出版社版をご確認ご利用ください。
DOI(Published Version): 10.1007/s10784-019-09432-z
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