The Formation of International Treaties

29 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2005

See all articles by Vincy Fon

Vincy Fon

George Washington University - Department of Economics

Francesco Parisi

University of Minnesota - Law School; University of Bologna


This paper develops a stylized model of international treaty formation and analyzes the different modalities with which states can become part of an international treaty according to the procedures set forth by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. We consider the rules governing accession to international treaties, distinguishing between three situations: (i) Treaties for which acceptance of a new member requires unanimous approval of the signatory states with an amendment of the original treaty agreement (closed treaties); (ii) Treaties where acceptance of a new member is made possible through the approval by a majority of the existing member states (semi-open treaties); and (iii) Treaties where the original member states have agreed to leave the treaty open for accession by other states (open treaties). Our analysis reveals the effect of the choice of accession regimes on the evolution of the treaty membership and content.

Keywords: Treaty Formation, Accession, Vienna Convention

JEL Classification: K10, K33, D70

Suggested Citation

Fon, Vincy and Parisi, Francesco, The Formation of International Treaties. Review of Law and Economics, 2007, George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 05-33, Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-16, Available at SSRN:

Vincy Fon (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Francesco Parisi

University of Minnesota - Law School ( email )

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United States

University of Bologna ( email )

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40126 Bologna, fc 47100

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