A Behavioral Approach to International Legal Cooperation

33 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2011 Last revised: 5 Jul 2012

See all articles by Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton

Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton

UCSD School of Global Policy and Strategy

Brad L. LeVeck

University of California, Merced

David G. Victor

UC San Diego, School of Global Policy and Strategy

James H. Fowler

UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences; UC San Diego School of Medicine

Date Written: July 4, 2012

Abstract

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.

Keywords: international law, behavioral economics, survey experiment

Suggested Citation

Hafner-Burton, Emilie Marie and LeVeck, Brad L. and Victor, David G. and Fowler, James H., A Behavioral Approach to International Legal Cooperation (July 4, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1969905

Emilie Marie Hafner-Burton (Contact Author)

UCSD School of Global Policy and Strategy ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

HOME PAGE: http://gps.ucsd.edu/ehafner/

Brad L. LeVeck

University of California, Merced ( email )

P.O. Box 2039
Merced, CA 95344
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.ucmerced.edu/bleveck

David G. Victor

UC San Diego, School of Global Policy and Strategy ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

James H. Fowler

UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jhfowler.ucsd.edu

UC San Diego School of Medicine ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
MC 0507
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jhfowler.ucsd.edu

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