Conclusiontheory Models And Empirics

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In this second stage of assessing the norms-based approach to GG, I have formalized the norm life cycle and demonstrated how the logic inherent in that framework plays out; focusing specifically on the role of norm entrepreneurs in catalyzing norm emergence and change. The modeling exercises accomplished two crucial goals.

First, formally testing the verbal model proved (in the sense of an existence proof) that the enhanced NLC provides a plausible explanation of norm emergence and evolution. Thus, the expectations derived from the framework are valid (i.e., a norm entrepreneur can catalyze intersubjective agreement). The norms-based argument is thus at the very least reasonable given the assumptions inherent within it. The logic that built the verbal framework entails norm emergence and evolution . . . under certain conditions.

Second, the modeling exercises provide further insight on the dynamics of social norms important for structuring the empirical analysis of stage three. The model results describe the boundary conditions for norm emergence and evolution through entrepreneurship. Important factors in explaining the emergence and evolution of a universal participation norm that would have gone unnoticed without formal analysis—social complexity and the reach of the norm entrepreneur—can now be explicitly incorporated into the empirical analysis. Thus, the modeling work not only provides confidence in the verbal model, it also extends the insights of the verbal model and serves as a foundation for the empirical testing of the enhanced NLC. The hypotheses that flow from the model mirror those that flow from the verbal framework, but the expectations have now been enhanced by the modeling exercises. In addition three further hypotheses are evident:

1. The norm entrepreneur can increase the social complexity by making suggestions, knocking a population out of a stable norm.

2. The norm entrepreneur suggestions can in turn decrease the social complexity, catalyzing intersubjective agreement.

3. The norm entrepreneur does not have to convince all actors in a population of the efficacy of its suggestion in order to catalyze norm emergence.

This stage of analysis proved fruitful. The modeling exercises demonstrated the efficacy of the verbal model, and provided additional empirical markers for testing the NLC empirically. However, one crucial step remains before turning to the case analysis—empirical operational-ization. Operationalizing the NLC on the computer is very different than operationalizing it for case analysis. Observing the expectations discerned in the previous and current chapters in the empirical record is wholly dependent upon how the concepts that are the building blocks for the framework are operationalized—the empirical record is in no way a neutral database of facts. Especially crucial in this project is the way in which the normative political context and internal rule models are conceived of and identified.

To reiterate, internal rule models are conceptualized to be the "tools" that agents in complex systems use to perceive and define their situations and formulate goals and actions. These rules are developed through the experience of the agent in the system. Specifically in this study, I have posited the importance of internalized (into the U.S. rule model) norms for participation. These norms are part of the social structure or what I have called the international normative political context.50 This project hinges on identifying the interaction and interplay of these evolving norms and the evolving internal rule models of the United States. The success of this endeavor requires careful criteria for identifying internal rule models and the political context, as neither is directly observable.

Internal rule models are relatively easy to create in ABM exercises, but they are difficult to operationalize empirically precisely because they are in some ways inherently unobservable. They are models of the world that agents have in their "heads." However, one advantage to studying a large, corporate agent such as a state is that such agents usually write down the understandings that comprise their rule models. Thus, as a proxy for the actual (unobserved) rule models of the United States, I treat the negotiating positions that the executive branch of the government used in the various negotiations as the rule models. These negotiating positions reveal how the United States defined the problems over time as well as what it desired out of agreements and what it was willing to commit to. In order to get a full sense of the negotiating position for any particular set of negotiations, I utilized several sources in an attempt to triangulate and get a true picture.

The first source is the congressional testimony of the negotiators and other executive branch officials that played a part in constructing the positions. One advantageous characteristic of the U.S. government is that before negotiations commence, the negotiators troop over to Congress to explain what the U.S. position and goals are for the upcoming negotiation. Then when the negotiations are complete, the negotiators troop back over to Congress, to explain how the negotiations went and whether the United States met its goals. Congressional testimony gives a first hand account of U.S. positions in historical context.

The second source is a series of U.S. and UN documents that specifically outline U.S. commitments and goals for negotiations. The president authorizes the State Department to negotiate with a document called a circular 175, which lays out the U.S. position. I have obtained the circular 175 for the crucial negotiations that led to the Montreal Protocol. In addition, the United States usually prepares draft protocols and/or negotiating texts in which they propose a form and content for an agreement. These documents also lay out the U.S. positions. The third source is public statements made to the press as well as observations of U.S. actions at the negotiations. These negotiations enjoyed heavy press coverage and the U.S. position was heavily reported for both the ozone depletion and climate change negotiations. I have accumulated a large set of articles from the top fifty U.S. newspapers as well as the International Environment Reporter (a bimonthly chronicle of environmental politics and science published by the Bureau of National Affairs) and the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (a reporting service provided by the International Institute for Sustainable Development).51

Finally, I draw on one source that is not in historical context— interviews with participants in the negotiating process. I conducted a series of interviews with officials from the State Department, EPA, and NGOs who had intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of the negotiations themselves. This last set of information fills in the holes of public statements and provides an oral history to round out the picture of the negotiating positions in the public record.

The normative political context is equally difficult to directly observe. It is essentially the norms/structures or, in the broadest sense, rules that are "out there" external to the United States. The normative political context is the norms and structures of the international community. However, this definition does not go very far toward operationalization. As noted in chapter 3 norms are "shared expectations about appropriate behavior held by a community of actors."52 The normative context is then composed of these shared expectations. Observing the normative context is another question altogether and operationalizing it requires finding a way to observe the shared expectations that are "in force" at particular times.

Similarly to the method of seeing rule models, I triangulate around the normative context from several sources. First, I use the texts of the agreements for ozone depletion and climate change as signposts of a normative context. These agreements actually define what the states themselves thought appropriate and constitute shared expectations. The agreements tie down the ephemeral normative context at specific points in time and shape it for the interactions that follow them. Dessler provides support for this means of getting at the normative context. He claims that agreements "are real structures, sedimented deposits that become conditions of subsequent interaction."53 Second, UN agendas for negotiations as well as the reports from the negotiations also reveal the normative context. They outline baseline understandings of the issues under discussion. Finally (and least rigorously), the normative context is evident in certain statements from the interviews mentioned above. Statements about things that were obvious, or political realities, reveal what U.S. participants took for granted as shared expectations. In addi tion, statements by NGOs other states (especially when they all say the same or similar things) show the substance of the United States' normative context.

With the verbal framework constructed, formally assessed, and now operationalized, the final stage in the analysis remains. The true test of the NLC/CAS framework is empirical. In the chapters that follow, the NLC/CAS explanation for the transitions in participation and the governance of ozone depletion and climate change will be put to the test.

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