Framing in and through International Law

Andrea Bianchi/Moshe Hirsch (eds.), International law’s invisible frames – Social cognition and knowledge production in international legal processes’, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming

22 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2020

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

Jan-Philip Elm

University of Hamburg

Date Written: July 21, 2020

Abstract

Framing is pervasive in public international law. International legal norms (incl. soft law) and international politics both inevitably frame how international actors perceive a given problem. Although framing has been an object of study for a long time – be it in domestic or international politics – it has not been systematically explored in the context of social cognition and knowledge production processes in public international law. We aim to close this gap by examining the implications of framing effects for preference and belief formation in specific settings in public international law. By looking at issue framing in addition to equivalency framing (which includes most well-known gain-loss framing effects), we broaden the scope of framing effects as traditionally studied in behavioral law and economics by also including findings from research in political communication. In the first part of this chapter, we provide an overview of the experimental evidence of both types of framing, show how it has already been incorporated into neighboring disciplines to public international law, and untangle the difference between preference reversals and a change in beliefs. In the second part, we identify typical situations in public international law where framing effects play an important role in social cognition and knowledge production processes. Without claiming to be exhaustive, we focus on international negotiations, international adjudication, global performance indicators, and norm framing.

Keywords: International law, psychology, behavioral economics

JEL Classification: K33, D01

Suggested Citation

van Aaken, Anne and Elm, Jan-Philip, Framing in and through International Law (July 21, 2020). Andrea Bianchi/Moshe Hirsch (eds.), International law’s invisible frames – Social cognition and knowledge production in international legal processes’, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3678551 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3678551

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

Jan-Philip Elm

University of Hamburg ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

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