Sovereignty and Multilateralism

21 Pages Posted: 17 May 2017 Last revised: 3 Aug 2017

See all articles by Kal Raustiala

Kal Raustiala

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Date Written: 2000


Are multilateral institutions threats to sovereignty? This view — ascendant today — is often leveled but rarely explicated. In this essay I challenge some versions of this argument, and argue that the best approach is not to focus on particular types of international agreements or organizations, but rather on the processes by which they make decisions. In particular, two concepts — insularity and generativity — are significant. By generativity I mean the ability of international institutions to produce new substantive rules that modify or extend a given regime. By insularity I mean both the degree of transparency and of stakeholder participation in the international institution and its decisions. The more generative and insular the institution, the greater the challenge for democratic decision making.

Keywords: Sovereignty, multilateralism, stakeholder, international organization

Suggested Citation

Raustiala, Kal, Sovereignty and Multilateralism (2000). Chicago Journal of International Law, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2000; UCLA School of Law, Law-Econ Research Paper No. 2000-01. Available at SSRN:

Kal Raustiala (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
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310-794-4856 (Phone)

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