Open Skies, Closed Markets: The Importance of Time in the Negotiation of International Air Transport
31 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 20 Aug 2009
Date Written: 2009
How can we explain an international agreement that fall outside of the win-set of one of the key players? This article surveys the US-EU Open Skies agreement signed in 2007 and asks why Europeans accepted the agreement after having rejected a comparable version three years earlier. Theoretical approaches that explain time inconsistency in international negotiations tend to focus on reasons why states can be constraint to accept suboptimal solutions. In multi-level bargaining, principal-agent theories focus on loss of control and constructivists suggest that governments can become trapped in rhetoric. This article shows that paradoxical agreements can be voluntary and explains them by adding a time dimension to classical multi-level bargaining analysis. In doing so, the case narrative thus provides an actor-centered account for the observation that flexible international agreements lead to greater commitment than rigid ones.
Keywords: international aviation, open skies, US, EU, two-level games, principal-agent theory, rhetorical traps
JEL Classification: F02, F13, F42, C70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation