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Data Sets

G7/8 Summit Commitments, 1975–2006
Complete Data Set
John Kirton, Ella Kokotsis and Michael M. Malleson
March 27, 2003
Updated August 31, 2006

Appendix A: Number of Commitments by Summit, 1975–2006
Appendix B: List of Individual Commitments
Cycle 1: 1975–1981
Cycle 2: 1982–1988
Cycle 3: 1989–1995
Cycle 4: 1996–2002
Cycle 5: 2003–2010


In its ongoing effort to assess the performance of the G8 system of global governance reliably, the G8 Research Group has produced the following data set. It identifies the decisional commitments made by the G7 and subsequently P8 and finally G8 leaders at their annual Summit meeting, as recorded in their publicly released declarations, statements and other communiqués (including chair’s summaries) at the event.

The concept of commitments employed here was pioneered by George von Furstenberg and Joseph Daniels (Daniels 1993), systematized and codified by Ella Kokotsis (Kokotsis 1999, Kokotsis and Daniels 1999), and applied here by Michael Malleson. A commitment is formally defined as a discrete, specific, publicly and collectively expressed statement of intent – made by either all of the summit members, a group of the summit members or a single summit member – that conveys implicitly or explicitly that they will take a specific future action, or attempt to achieve or move toward a specific welfare target. Commitments are thus measurable, discrete, future-oriented collective expressions of intended action that are consciously designed to bind or constrain their signatories in regard to the course of action they might otherwise independently take. Individual commitments may, but do not have to, contain specified implementing measures, targeted welfare outcomes, or timetables for partial and full compliance. They need only be sufficiently specific on any dimension to be measurable.

The commitments identified here are taken from all documents issued publicly in the leaders names by the G7/8 at its annual summit, from its start in 1975 through to the end of its fourth cycle in 2002. These documents include summit communiqués, statements from the chair, and political, economic and miscellaneous declarations by the G7/8. They exclude reports to the summit leaders or documents issued at the summit by other G8 groups or larger dialogue groups.

An application of this concept and method of commitment analysis to the leader’s documents yields the results listed in Appendix A. The list of the individual commitments, as identified by Michael Malleson, appears as Appendix B. This data set is offered in this initial form for comment, critique and independent confirmation and as a foundation for further analysis. Comments are most welcome; please send them to g8@utoronto.ca.

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Daniels, Joseph (1993), The Meaning and Reliability of Economic Summit Undertakings, 1975–1989 (Garland Publishing, New York).

Kokotsis, Ella (1999), Keeping International Commitments: Compliance, Credibility and the G7, 1988–1995 (Garland: New York).

Kokotsis, Ella and Joseph Daniels (1999), "G8 Summits and Compliance," in Michael Hodges, John Kirton and Joseph Daniels, eds., The G8’s Role in the New Millennium (Ashgate: Aldershot), pp. 75–94.

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