How International Law Works: A Rational Choice Theory
How International Law Works presents a theory of international law, how it operates, and why it works. Though appeals to international law have grown ever more central to international disputes and international relations, there is no well-developed, comprehensive theory of how international law shapes policy outcomes. Filling a conspicuous gap in the literature on international law, Andrew T. Guzman builds a coherent theory from the ground up and applies it to the foundations of the international legal system. Using tools from across the social sciences Guzman deploys a rational choice methodology to explain how a legal system can succeed in the absence of coercive enforcement. He demonstrates how even rational and selfish states are motivated by concerns about reciprocal non-compliance, retaliation, and reputation to comply with their international legal commitments. Contradicting the conventional view of the subject among international legal scholars, Guzman argues that the primary sources of international commitment--formal treaties, customary international law, soft law, and even international norms--must be understood as various points on a spectrum of commitment rather than wholly distinct legal structures. Taking a rigorous and theoretically sound look at international law, How International Law Works provides an in-depth, thoroughgoing guide to the complexities of international law, offers guidance to those managing relations among nations, and helps us to understand when we can look to international law to resolve problems, and when we must accept that we live in an anarchic world in which some issues can be resolved only through politics.
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actions affect state behavior assumptions Basel Accord beliefs bilateral Bilateral Investment Treaties breach Canada chapter coercive commitments compliance decision compliance with international comply with international consider context cooperation coordination games costly Court credible customary international law developed discount rate discussion dispute resolution domestic economic economies of scope enforcement environmental environmental agreement escape clauses example existing exit clauses future GATT human rights ICCPR impact impose incentive to comply increase interactions interest international agreements international legal obligations International Organization investment issue areas Koremenos Kyoto Protocol Law of Treaties legal rules multilateral agreements negotiations nonreputational payoffs norms nuclear weapons observing opinio juris parties political possible practice prefer prisoner’s dilemma problem promises rational choice reciprocity regime relevant reputation for compliance reputational consequences reputational sanctions requires retaliation rule of CIL Russia soft law agreements Soviet Union state’s reputation substantive theory trade tribunals United Vienna Convention violation