Who is Sovereign?

Posted: 21 Sep 2004

See all articles by Richard H. Steinberg

Richard H. Steinberg

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law


All states are legally sovereign. However, as a behavioral matter, most states lack the institutional or political capacity to fully exercise the authority associated with legal sovereignty. This article argues that states vary in the extent to which they are behaviorally sovereign, depending on the extent of their domestic institutional development and global power. This perspective exposes the myth that the sovereignty of all states is weakening: purported challenges from nonstate actors, international organizations, and other changes in the global social or political environment are neither eroding the state system nor diminishing the enjoyment of behavioral sovereignty by powerful states.

Keywords: state sovereignty, international organizations

Suggested Citation

Steinberg, Richard H., Who is Sovereign?. UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 04-14, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=593561

Richard H. Steinberg (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

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