The Rise of International Regime Complexity

24 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2017 Last revised: 17 Apr 2018

See all articles by Karen J. Alter

Karen J. Alter

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science; University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law - iCourts Center of Excellence

Kal Raustiala

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

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Abstract

The signature feature of 21st century global governance is arguably not the international regime but the regime complex. A regime complex is an array of partially overlapping and nonhierarchical institutions that includes more than one international agreement or authority. The institutions and agreements may be functional or territorial in nature. International regime complexity refers to political systems of global governance that emerge because of the co-existence of rule density and regime complexes. This review essay highlights insights and questions that emerge from the last fifteen years of scholarship on the politics of international regime complexity, explaining why regime complexes arise, what factors sustain them, and the range of political effects regime complexity creates. Our conclusion explains why in a Post-American world order, the trend of international regime complexity will likely accelerate.

Keywords: International cooperation, global governance, regime complex, international law, multilateralism, world order

Suggested Citation

Alter, Karen J. and Raustiala, Kal, The Rise of International Regime Complexity. Annual Review of Law and Social Sciences, 2018; UCLA School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-47; Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 17-30. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3085043

Karen J. Alter

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

601 University Place
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law - iCourts Center of Excellence ( email )

Karen Blixens Plads 16
Copenhagen, DK-2300
Denmark

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
United States
310-794-4856 (Phone)

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