Giving the Treaty a Purpose: Comparing the Durability of Treaties and Executive Agreements

The American Journal of International Law 113(1):54-89

86 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2018 Last revised: 14 Mar 2019

Date Written: March 3, 2018

Abstract

Scholars have argued that there is little use in the treaty instrument as a modern policy tool and that the executive agreement is a more reliable commitment device that comes at a reduced cost. This study uses survival time analysis to demonstrate that agreements concluded in the form of a treaty are more durable than those concluded as executive agreements. The analysis suggests that this is the result of increased political costs imposed by the treaties' Advice and Consent procedure. Together, the findings imply that treaty usage signals a higher level of commitment than executive agreements. Abolishing the treaty would lock negotiators out of the possibility to indicate their intended level of compliance, potentially leading to fewer agreements with less favorable terms.

Keywords: Treaty, Executive Agreement, Durability, Survival Time

JEL Classification: K33, F50, F51, F53

Suggested Citation

Nyarko, Julian, Giving the Treaty a Purpose: Comparing the Durability of Treaties and Executive Agreements (March 3, 2018). The American Journal of International Law 113(1):54-89. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3133833 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3133833

Julian Nyarko (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10009

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