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Olav Schram Stokke Obtains Dr. philos. degree on International Regime Effectiveness, with Barents Sea Fisheries Case Study

Olav Schram Stokke(19.03.2010) FNI Senior Research Fellow Olav Schram Stokke has today successfully defended his Dr. philos. dissertation, in which he used the Barents Sea fisheries as a case study in a new, theoretical approach to analysing international regime effectiveness.

Stokke's study of international institutions and how they can help states in sustainably managing natural resources and the environment has two basic aims:
    To develop a new, disaggregate approach to international regime effectiveness that can measure and explain effectiveness validly, determinately and in a way that allows comparison across cases.
    To apply this approach to a specific international regime: the one established for managing shared fish stocks in the Barents Sea.

One characteristic of Stokke's approach is to unbundle the overall resource management problem into three: the cognitional problem of assessing the resilience of the resource base to various levels of harvesting pressure, the regulatory problem of agreeing on suitable mangement measures, and the behavioural problem of inducing fishers to adhere to the regulations. These general aspects of resource management allow comparison with other regimes, ensure substantively broad yet nuanced assessment of the regime's performance, and facilitates the causal analysis inherent in regime effectiveness research.

Olav Schram Stokke: A Disaggregate ApproachA second key feature of Stokke's approach is to decompose the counterfactual analysis that underlies a regime effectiveness assessment: would the level of problem solving be significantly lower if the regime had not existed? In order to address this question in a disciplined and transparent manner, Stokke first explains the actual diversity in management success and failure, then specifying how the regime affects the explanatory factors, and finally, on that basis and supported by contextual information, estimates the no-regime counterfactual.

A third characteristic of Stokke's approach is to decompose the empirical material by identifying distinct phases in the material and examining regime effects on the behavior of each member state. This procedure generates quite numerous observations and permits the use of comparative and statistical tools for analyzing the importance of various explanatory factors, separately or in interaction.

The final step of Stokke's method is to aggregate the partial effectiveness analyses by relating them to changes over time in the state of the fish stocks in question and of the industries that utilize them. By applying his novel approach to the Barents Sea fisheries, Stokke sheds empirical light on a range of propositions about the drivers and impediments of regime effectiveness and substantiates considerable variation over time in the effectiveness of the international regime in focus.

Dr. Stokke is a Senior Research Fellow at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, to which he has been affiliated since 1987. His Dr. philos. dissertation – A Disaggregate Approach to International Regime Effectiveness. The Case of Barents Sea Fisheries – was submitted to the Department of Political Science at the University of Oslo in September 2009.

Further information:
   Olav Schram Stokke's homepage
   Dr. philos. dissertation summary
 The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) is an independent foundation engaged in research on international environmental, energy, and resource management politics.
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