The Political Economy of International Treaties

in: THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW: A EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVE, Alberta Fabbricotti (ed.), (Edward Elgar 2016) pp. 95-126

University of Groningen Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 18/2015

33 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2015 Last revised: 19 Jul 2017

See all articles by Panos Merkouris

Panos Merkouris

University of Groningen - Faculty of Law

Date Written: December 20, 2014

Abstract

The book, which the present Chapter is a part of, is a ‘call to arms’ for a more systematic and systemic PE- (political economy) and IPE-oriented (international political economy) study of PIL (public international law). The present Chapter tackles the task of demonstrating the need for a PE and IPE study of international treaty law and of treaties. This will not be attempted in a complete vacuum. Great strides in adopting a PE/IPE perspective in the study of international have already been accomplished (e.g. 'black-box' vs. 'two-level game' analysis)' however, with respect to treaties there is still a long way to go. What will be attempted in the present Chapter, is to highlight the existence of a veritable cornucopia of uncharted areas in a treaty’s ‘life-cycle’ where a strictly legal approach is not sufficient and where PE/IPE can yield valuable insight as to how PIL is formed and functions.

For this reason, in the present Chapter, law of treaties will be examined mainly through the lens of IPE, avoiding, however, the pitfall of being focused only on economic relations but using examples from all areas of PIL. PIL will also be examined as explanandum (dependent variable), while methodologically the analysis for the most part, will be conducted under the second column of Kantorowicz’s epistemological trilogy , i.e. Realwissenschaft (sociological perspective). In the Section, however, ‘Evolutive Interpretation’ due to the very nature of that analytical part the third column will also be used, i.e. Normwissenschaft (doctrinal perspective).

Finally, the aim of this Chapter is not to provide a complete list of all IPE approaches and tools to explain law of treaties in toto. This field of PIL is so open-ended and allows for adoption of so many different approaches in the design and functioning of treaties that any such exhaustive attempt would be an exercise in futility. For this reason, the aim is to highlight the fact that there is a multitude of areas of the law of treaties which have not yet been the subject of IPE analysis and to pinpoint those where IPE considerations, approaches and tools may or are needed to come into play in order to understand the outcome. Consequently, the content of this Chapter has been structured following a ‘from cradle to grave’ approach and the following areas have been selected for their instructional value: i) non-State determination of the existence of a treaty ii) evolutive interpretation iii) normative conflict and iv) termination of treaties.

Keywords: treaty law, political economy, 'two-level analysis', rational choice theory, behavioral economics, evolutive interpretation, dynamic interpretation, normative conflict, regime conflict, Article 351 TFEU, prisoner's dilemma

JEL Classification: K33, D7, D8

Suggested Citation

Merkouris, Panos, The Political Economy of International Treaties (December 20, 2014). in: THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF INTERNATIONAL LAW: A EUROPEAN PERSPECTIVE, Alberta Fabbricotti (ed.), (Edward Elgar 2016) pp. 95-126 ; University of Groningen Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 18/2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2559183

Panos Merkouris (Contact Author)

University of Groningen - Faculty of Law ( email )

Oude Kijk in't Jatstraat 26
9700 AS Groningen, 9712 EK
Netherlands
+31 (0) 50 363 8258 (Phone)

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