The Limits of Information Revelation in Multilateral Negotiations: A Theory of Treatymaking

50 Pages Posted: 2 May 2018 Last revised: 2 Jul 2019

See all articles by James Morrow

James Morrow

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science

Kevin L. Cope

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: June 5, 2018

Abstract

States negotiate over the specific language of multilateral treaties because the exact provisions influence their willingness to ratify the treaty afterwards. In an extreme case, a state could fail to ratify a treaty it generally supported because the specific language was too far from what it sought. Those drafting treaties would like to uncover the minimal terms needed to secure the ratification of a key party, but will that party reveal those terms? Using a spatial representation of the issues in a treaty negotiation, we use mechanism design to determine what information states will reveal in a negotiation. We find that they are willing to reveal how they would like tradeoffs between different issues to be resolved but not the minimal terms they require for ratification. Further, negotiations cannot always separate types that need concessions to ratify from other types that would like concessions but would ratify the treaty even if they do not receive them.

Keywords: treaties, international bargaining, international law, international organizations

Suggested Citation

Morrow, James and Cope, Kevin L., The Limits of Information Revelation in Multilateral Negotiations: A Theory of Treatymaking (June 5, 2018). Virginia Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper No. 2018-28; Virginia Law and Economics Research Paper No. 2018-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3170058

James Morrow

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Kevin L. Cope (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
WB345
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.kevinlcope.com

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