Paths to Compliance: Enforcement, Management, and the European Union

35 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2012

See all articles by Jonas Tallberg

Jonas Tallberg

Stockholm University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2002


The contemporary debate on compliance has been framed in terms of two contending perspectives on how to best make states comply with international rules: the enforcement approach and the management approach. Whereas enforcement theorists stress a coercive strategy of monitoring and sanctions, management theorists embrace a problem-solving approach based on capacity building, rule interpretation, and transparency. This article challenges the conception of enforcement and management as competing strategies for achieving compliance. Based on the case of the EU and a comparison with other international regimes, I submit that enforcement and management mechanisms are most effective when combined. The twinning of cooperative and coercive instruments in a “management-enforcement ladder” makes the EU highly successful in combating violations, thus reducing non-compliance to a temporal phenomenon. Regimes in the areas of trade, environment, and human rights lend additional support to this proposition; compliance systems that offer both forms of mechanisms are particularly effective in securing rule conformance, whereas systems that only rely on one of the strategies suffer in identifiable ways.

Keywords: European Union, international organizations, compliance, enforcement, management, monitoring, sanctions, dispute settlement

Suggested Citation

Tallberg, Jonas, Paths to Compliance: Enforcement, Management, and the European Union (2002). International Organization, Vol. 56, No. 3, 2002, Available at SSRN:

Jonas Tallberg (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91

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