Zuhad Hai - When Do Experts Prevail over States? Evidence from International Cooperation on Biodiversity


When do experts successfully persuade states to provide global public goods? While theories of collective action emphasize the difficulty of persuading multiple states, principal-agent models of international organizations predict the opposite: a single state might hold private information with which to dispute the international organization. I adjudicate between these two perspectives in the context of international efforts to conserve biodiversity. I match data on species' designation as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to subsequent international action by states. The uneven distribution of species across political borders provides exogenous variation in the number of states the IUCN reports to when designating a species as endangered. Using a matched difference-in-differences design, I find that international action is more likely for endangered species that span multiple states. This is likely because multiple states find it harder to coordinate to dispute the IUCN compared to a single state. This suggests that national monopolies on information are a major impediment to international environmental cooperation. 


Welcome! I am a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Stanford University. I am interested in International Relations, Political Economy, and Statistical Methods, and particularly in Climate Change Politics, Politics of Science and Technology, and International Negotiations.