Values and Interests: International Legalization in the Fight Against Corruption

38 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2004 Last revised: 9 Feb 2010

See all articles by Kenneth W. Abbott

Kenneth W. Abbott

Arizona State University

Duncan Snidal

University of Chicago


Standard rational choice analysis explains many but not all aspects of the highly political process of international legalization. Because law engages and affects not only the interests of actors but also their normative values, the development and operation of legal regimes can only be understood by considering both motivations together. We develop a simple model of the interaction of value and interest actors that shows how their different logics of behavior and distinctive strategies drive the politics of legalization - both in particular episodes and through deeper interrelationships over time. To demonstrate our argument empirically, we analyze how various turning points in the development of the 1997 OECD Anti-Bribery Convention can only be fully understood as resulting from the interplay of values and interests. Our analysis thus blends rational choice with normative or constructivist approaches to provide a richer account of international legalization.

Suggested Citation

Abbott, Kenneth Wayne and Snidal, Duncan, Values and Interests: International Legalization in the Fight Against Corruption. Journal of Legal Studies, January 2002. Available at SSRN:

Kenneth Wayne Abbott (Contact Author)

Arizona State University ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
480-965-5917 (Phone)

Duncan Snidal

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics