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Dispute Settlement in World Politics: States, Supranational Prosecutors and Compliance

European Journal of International Relations Online, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 118-144, 2014

27 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2012 Last revised: 14 Mar 2014

Jonas Tallberg

Stockholm University - Department of Political Science

James McCall Smith

Covington & Burling, LLP

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

This article addresses one prominent expression of the interplay between politics and law in international cooperation: the dynamics of bargaining in the settling of compliance disputes. Our central argument is that the formal structure of dispute settlement systematically shapes the likelihood and terms of negotiated compliance settlements. We introduce an ideal type distinction between interstate dispute settlement, where the authority to sue states for non-compliance resides exclusively with states, and supranational dispute settlement, where this authority is partly or entirely delegated to a commission or secretariat with a prosecutorial function. We hypothesize that systems relying on supranational prosecution are more effective in addressing non-compliance, and more likely to mediate the impact of power asymmetries on dispute settlement outcomes, compared to systems relying on state-initiated complaints only. We find support for this proposition in a comparison of dispute settlement and compliance bargaining in the WTO and the EU.

Keywords: dispute settlement, compliance, interstate, supranational, prosecutors, WTO, European Union

Suggested Citation

Tallberg, Jonas and Smith, James McCall, Dispute Settlement in World Politics: States, Supranational Prosecutors and Compliance (2014). European Journal of International Relations Online, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 118-144, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2181027

Jonas Tallberg (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

James McCall Smith

Covington & Burling, LLP ( email )

1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20004-2401
United States

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