Behavioral Aspects of the International Law of Global Public Goods and Common Pool Resources

Forthcoming in the American Journal of International Law 2018

15 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2018

See all articles by Anne van Aaken

Anne van Aaken

University of Hamburg, Law School; Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Date Written: February 5, 2018

Abstract

Free-riding on global public goods (GPG) and overuse of common pool resources (CPR) are problems with important implications for international law. This note argues that behavioral insights from laboratory experiments, in which individuals engage in public goods games, can contribute, despite the immense difference in context, to understanding how best to optimize the design of international legal regimes dealing with global public goods and common pool resources. While some such insights are now reflected, most often implicitly, in the designs of certain of these regimes and serve to enhance their effectiveness, the value of such features is understated in the scholarship—which most often remains grounded in purely rational choice theories. Behavioral economics, to the extent it supplements or displaces rational-choice models in institutional design, may enable deeper and more sustained forms of international cooperation. While they have largely gone unnoticed, insights into how people behave need to be incorporated into international lawyers’ assessments of existing treaties and need to be considered in the design of new ones.

Keywords: Global Public Goods, Global Commons, behavioral economics, game theory

Suggested Citation

van Aaken, Anne, Behavioral Aspects of the International Law of Global Public Goods and Common Pool Resources (February 5, 2018). Forthcoming in the American Journal of International Law 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3118104 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3118104

Anne Van Aaken (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg, Law School ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany

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