Elizabeth R. DeSombre

Elizabeth R. DeSombre is Camilla Chandler Frost Professor of Environmental Studies and Director of the Environmental Studies Program at Wellesley College. She is the author of Flagging Standards: Globalization and Environmental, Safety, and Labor Regulations at Sea (MIT Press, 2006) and other books.

  • Saving Global Fisheries

    Saving Global Fisheries

    Reducing Fishing Capacity to Promote Sustainability

    J. Samuel Barkin and Elizabeth R. DeSombre

    A proposal for a new global approach for fisheries focused on reducing fishing capacity and providing incentives for long-term sustainability.

    The Earth's oceans are overfished, despite more than fifty years of cooperation among the world's fishing nations. There are too many boats chasing too few fish. In Saving Global Fisheries, J. Samuel Barkin and Elizabeth DeSombre analyze the problem of overfishing and offer a provocative proposal for a global regulatory and policy approach.

    Existing patterns of international fisheries management try to limit the number of fish that can be caught while governments simultaneously subsidize increased fishing capacity, focusing on fisheries as an industry to be developed rather than on fish as a resource to be conserved. Regionally based international management means that protection in one area simply shifts fishing efforts to other species or regions. Barkin and DeSombre argue that global rather than regional regulation is necessary for successful fisheries management and emphasize the need to reduce subsidies. They propose an international system of individual transferable quotas that would give holders of permits an interest in the long-term health of fish stocks and help create a sustainable level of fishing capacity globally.

    • Hardcover $9.75 £7.99
  • Flagging Standards

    Flagging Standards

    Globalization and Environmental, Safety, and Labor Regulations at Sea

    Elizabeth R. DeSombre

    Shipping is among the most globalized of industries. Shipowners can choose where to register their vessels, based on cost, convenience, and the international and domestic regulations that would govern their operation. This system of open registration, also known as flags of convenience (FOC), can encourage a competition in regulatory laxity among states that want to attract shipping revenues—a race to the regulatory bottom. In Flagging Standards, Elizabeth DeSombre examines the effect of globalization on environmental, safety, and labor standards in the shipping industry. She finds that the economic advantages of lowered standards can be offset by the collective action of international organizations, states, and nongovernmental actors to exclude low-standard ships from the advantages of globalization. Open registries are pressured to raise their standards while traditional maritime states lower theirs somewhat when they create international or second registries. The result is a competition not for the regulatory bottom but for the middle ground. DeSombre examines the decisions made by states and shipowners that lead to this race to the middle and explores the effectiveness of strategies used by both state and nonstate actors aimed at raising regulatory standards, including port control, labor actions against FOC ships that fail to meet international labor standards, and trade restrictions against shipped goods that were not obtained within the requirements of international agreements. Globalization, DeSombre finds, may lead to a downward trend in regulatory standards but has also created many opportunities to raise these standards and does not necessarily signal a reduction of state control.

    • Hardcover $70.00 £58.00
    • Paperback $19.75 £15.99
  • Domestic Sources of International Environmental Policy

    Domestic Sources of International Environmental Policy

    Industry, Environmentalists, and U.S. Power

    Elizabeth R. DeSombre

    How do international environmental standards come into being? One important way, as Elizabeth DeSombre shows in this book, is through the internationalization of regulations that one or more countries have undertaken domestically. Domestic environmental regulation, DeSombre argues, can create an incentive for environmentalists and industry—previously at odds with each other—to work together to shape international environmental policy. For environmentalists, international regulation offers greater protection of a resource. For industry, internationalization prevents unregulated foreign industries from operating at a competitive advantage. Domestic forces acting together often push for the threat or imposition of economic restrictions on countries resisting regulation. DeSombre examines this dynamic primarily from the perspective of United States environmental policy. Looking at major regulations on endangered species, air pollution, and fisheries conservation, she determines which ones the United States has attempted to internationalize and how successful the attempts have been. She underlines the importance of regulated industries in the creation of international environmental policy and presents evidence that power and threat play a significant role in the adoption of international regulations, despite the perception of international environmental politics as an arena of friendly interaction over mutual interests. She also discusses the origins of international cooperation, the regulatory effects of free trade, the usefulness of economic sanctions, and the interaction between domestic and international politics. Thus the book has theoretical implications for the fields of environmental politics and policy, international diplomacy, and international political economy.

    • Hardcover $70.00
    • Paperback $7.75 £5.99

Contributor

  • Beyond Resource Wars

    Beyond Resource Wars

    Scarcity, Environmental Degradation, and International Cooperation

    Shlomi Dinar

    An argument that resource scarcity and environmental degradation can provide an impetus for cooperation among countries.

    Common wisdom holds that the earth's dwindling natural resources and increasing environmental degradation will inevitably lead to inter-state conflict, and possibly even set off “resource wars.” Many scholars and policymakers have considered the environmental roots of violent conflict and instability, but little attention has been paid to the idea that scarcity and degradation may actually play a role in fostering inter-state cooperation.

    Beyond Resource Wars fills this gap, offering a different perspective on the links between environmental problems and inter-state conflict. Although the contributors do not deny that resource scarcity and environmental degradation may become sources of contention, they argue that these conditions also provide the impetus for cooperation, coordination, and negotiation between states. The book examines aspects of environmental conflict and cooperation in detail, across a number of natural resources and issues including oil, water, climate change, ocean pollution, and biodiversity conservation. The contributors argue that increasing scarcity and degradation generally induce cooperation across states, but when conditions worsen (and a problem becomes too costly or a resource becomes too scarce), cooperation becomes more difficult. Similarly, low levels of scarcity may discourage cooperation because problems seem less urgent.

    With contributions from scholars in international relations, economics, and political science, Beyond Resource Wars offers a comprehensive and robust investigation of the links among scarcity, environmental degradation, cooperation, and conflict.

    • Hardcover $11.75 £9.99
    • Paperback $30.00 £25.00
  • Voluntary Programs

    Voluntary Programs

    A Club Theory Perspective

    Matthew Potoski and Aseem Prakash

    A conceptual framework and empirical case studies of the policy effect of voluntary programs sponsored by industry, government, and nongovernmental organizations.

    The recent growth of voluntary programs has attracted the attention of policymakers, nongovernmental organizations, and scholars. Thousands of firms around the world participate in these programs, in which members agree to undertake socially beneficial actions that go beyond the requirements of government regulations, such as following labor codes in the apparel industry, adhering to international accounting standards, and adopting internal environmental management systems. This book analyzes the efficacy of a variety of voluntary programs using a club theory, political-economy framework. It examines how programs' design influences their effectiveness as policy tools. It finds that voluntary programs have achieved uneven success because of their varying standards and enforcement procedures.

    The club theory framework views voluntary programs as institutions that create incentives for firms to incur the costs of taking progressive action beyond what is required by law in exchange for benefits that nonmembers do not enjoy (such as enhanced standing with stakeholders). Voluntary Programs develops this theoretical framework and applies it to voluntary programs sponsored by industry associations, governments, and nongovernmental organizations, organized around policy issues such as “blood diamonds,” shipping, sweatshops, and the environment. The wide diversity of cases—across sectors, sponsoring organizations, and objectives—provides valuable applications of the club framework, generates new insights for future research, and offers practical guidance for designing effective programs.

    Contributors David P. Baron, Tim Bartley, Tim Büthe, Cary Coglianese, Elizabeth R. DeSombre, Daniel W. Drezner, Daniel Fiorino, Mary Kay Gugerty, Virginia Haufler, Matthew J. Kotchen, Mimi Lu, Jennifer Nash, Matthew Potoski, Aseem Prakash, Klaas van 't Veld

    • Hardcover $12.75 £10.99
    • Paperback $30.00 £25.00