Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in International and Development Economics (MSIDEC)


College of Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Jesse Anttila-Hughes


The Paris Agreement presents a unique framework to address the pressing dangers of climate change. Given the magnitude of this global problem and our reliance on international treaties to counteract its adverse effects, it is imperative that we understand the evolving norms within this domain. To evaluate the extent to which the Paris Agreement serves as a second-order "rule of recognition" in the context of global climate governance, we utilize a straightforward test rooted in Hart's theory of the rule of law. Our approach entails enumerating the number of countries worldwide that have enacted laws explicitly referencing the Paris Agreement, and in order to classify the agreement as achieving normative force, we verify that each of these references portrays the Agreement as promoting the existence of the law in question. To test whether this denotes a shift in global climate governance, we employ the same measure for the Montreal and Kyoto Protocols as a counterfactual. Our findings indicate that at least one legally binding document in 149 countries, which accounts for 92% of the global population, references the Paris Agreement. The advent of this nearly universal, law-like institutional structure underscores the Agreement's growing normative force, signifying the establishment of a new regime in global climate governance.

Available for download on Monday, May 25, 2026

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