A Behavioral Approach to International Legal Cooperation
Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS)
Brad L. LeVeck
University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
David G. Victor
UC San Diego, IR/PS
James H. Fowler
UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences; UC San Diego School of Medicine
July 4, 2012
International relations theories have largely ignored the role of individual people who play key roles in treaty design and participation; instead, that scholarship assumes that other factors, such as treaty enforcement, matter most. We use experiments drawn from behavioral economics and cognitive psychology — along with a substantive survey focused on international trade treaties — to illustrate how two traits (patience and strategic skills) could influence treaty outcomes. More patient and strategic players favor treaties with larger numbers of countries (and thus larger long-term benefits). These behavioral traits had much larger impacts on simulated treaty outcomes than treaty enforcement mechanisms. This study is based on a sample of 509 university students yet provides a baseline for future experimental and survey research on actual policy elites who design and implement treaties; a preliminary sample of 73 policy elites displays the same main patterns described in this paper.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 54
Keywords: international law, behavioral economics, survey experimentworking papers series
Date posted: December 8, 2011 ; Last revised: July 5, 2012
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