Shared Responsibilities in International Law: A Political Economy Analysis
André Nollkaemper and Dov Jacobs (eds.), Distribution of Responsibilities in International Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015 Forthcoming)
37 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2014 Last revised: 21 Sep 2014
Date Written: March 5, 2014
Problems which can only be resolved through international cooperation are increasing. Due to this increase, states cooperate more than ever with each other and with international organizations (IOs) but often insufficiently to solve the problems. When social scientists analyze the potential for cooperation on global public goods, they focus on the benefits from cooperation and on the game theoretic structures under which cooperation may arise; they have until now, however, neglected to study state responsibility as a sanctioning mechanism and especially its different forms of apportionment when responsibility is shared.
I submit that this is a crucial variable for understanding why cooperation arises since it impacts the propensity to cooperate in the first place. Different rules of apportionment under Art. 47 Draft Articles on State Responsibility lead to different cooperative outcomes. Taking into account other goals of state responsibility such as compensation and prevention of harm, it is possible via game theory to construct an optimal apportionment of responsibility in situations of shared responsibility. In principle, independent responsibility, the current general principle, is worst for the propensity to cooperate, proportional responsibility best and joint and several liability lies in the middle of the extremes, although it is best from a compensatory perspective.
Keywords: international Law, state responsibility, shared responsibility, international public goods, cooperation, game theory
JEL Classification: K33, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation