International Law and Domestic Political Coalitions: The Causes of Compliance with International Law

32 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2009

See all articles by Joel P. Trachtman

Joel P. Trachtman

Tufts University - The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Date Written: July 9, 2009

Abstract

The cause of compliance with international law is a domestic political decision to engage in the behavior that constitutes compliance. This article explains the importance of the interdependence between domestic politics and foreign politics in determining compliance. International legal commitments allow the formation of coalitions between those who will benefit by their own state’s compliance with the international legal rule in question, and those who will benefit from other states’ compliance with the international legal rule. This theory is based on established approaches to international relations in the political science literature, in particular two-level game theory associated with Robert Putnam and the “second image reversed” approach associated with Peter Gourevitch. The two extensions of this approach made in this article, (i) from international relations more broadly to international law, and (ii) from adherence to compliance, raise some questions, and bear some important fruit. These extensions help to illuminate the problem of compliance. The theory proposed here subsumes other theories of compliance and provides a highly plausible set of assumptions about the circumstances under which we may expect states to comply with international law.

Keywords: international law, compliance, domestic politics

JEL Classification: K00, K33, K42

Suggested Citation

Trachtman, Joel P., International Law and Domestic Political Coalitions: The Causes of Compliance with International Law (July 9, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1431956 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1431956

Joel P. Trachtman (Contact Author)

Tufts University - The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy ( email )

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