Despite the tendency for multinational corporations to overexploit natural resources and pollute the Earth, the immense power of capital in a globalizing world has presented a unique opportunity for corporations to become drivers for positive global environmental change. To make sense of this puzzle, this study asks how does an international environmental regime’s relationship to the economic marketplace impact its institutional and ecological effectiveness? Through a small-n case study, this project analyzes the historical context, market interactions, and regime outcomes of four distinct instances of global environmental governance: the stratospheric ozone regime, the climate change regime, the global oceanic regime, and the biodiversity regime. By using indicators from both traditional and contemporary regime theory literature, each regime is coded as market-enabling or regulatory and its effectiveness is evaluated. These narratives indicate that both market-enabling regimes and regulatory regimes alike may face pushback from state and corporate actors that compromises the regime’s institutional and ecological effectiveness. However, this oppositional stance may change when the cost of defecting from regime provisions exceeds the cost of compliance. Market- enabling features, coupled with technological advancements, enforcement mechanisms, and a concentrated regime structure, establishes conditions under which corporations may choose to abide by environmental regime provisions.


Valdez, John


Global and International Studies


International Relations


international regimes, international environmental regimes, regime effectiveness, multinational corporations, stratospheric ozone regime, global oceanic regime, climate change regime, biodiversity regime

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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