Award Date

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Committee Member

Jonathan R. Strand

Second Committee Member

David Damore

Third Committee Member

Michele Kuenzi

Fourth Committee Member

Simon Gottschalk

Number of Pages



As global environmental problems have received more attention in the international arena, questions of global environmental governance have become more salient. The increase of international and multilateral environmental agreements has raised questions about participation, compliance, and ultimately, effectiveness of these institutions. Consequently, this dissertation seeks to understand what factors affect participation in and compliance with international environmental agreements. Specifically, I find that treaty design plays a critical role in levels of participation. Using both qualitative and quantitative analysis, I also examine the case of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as a case study, and find that contextual domestic and international factors largely affect compliance, but that state capacity seems to be a driving force in compliance and participation. Finally, I develop a theory of institutional dissonance to explain the inconsistencies that sometimes occur in the perceptions of states and actors both within and between international institutions, but also between theory and practice.


CITES; environmental agreements; institutional dissonance; international environmental governance; international organization; treaty design


Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Law | International Relations

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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