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The Politics of International Regime Complexity Symposium

Perspectives on Politics 7 (1), 2009: 13-24

Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 996889

Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies Working Paper 07-03

142 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2007 Last revised: 2 Sep 2015

Karen J. Alter

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science; University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law - iCourts Center of Excellence

Sophie Meunier-Aitsahalia

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Abstract

The increasing density of international regimes has contributed to the proliferation of overlap across agreements, conflicts among international obligations, and confusion regarding what international and bilateral obligations cover an issue. This symposium examines the consequences of the complex of overlapping, parallel and nested agreements for subsequent politics, thus the issue of overlap and complexity as an independent variable. Our central questions are: What insights can be gained by thinking about any single agreement as part of a larger complex of international rules and agreements? Does the existence of simultaneous and overlapping agreements alter either the strategies of players or the politics of the issue itself? Karen Alter and Sophie Meunier's introductory essay identifies the mechanisms through which nesting and overlap across agreements can influence politics, and identifies six modes through which overlap as an independent variable can manifest itself. Short contributions identify how the complex of international agreements affects politics in specific issue areas: refugee politics (by Alexander Betts), trade politics (by Christina Davis), human rights and trade (by Emilie Hafner-Burton), intellectual property politics (by Laurence Helfer), security politics (by Stephanie Hofmann), and election monitoring (by Judith Kelley). Daniel Drezner concludes by arguing that the complexity of rules may well benefit the powerful more than others.

Keywords: Complexity, International Organization, International Cooperation, International law, Nested Regimes

JEL Classification: F10, K1, O10

Suggested Citation

Alter, Karen J. and Meunier-Aitsahalia, Sophie, The Politics of International Regime Complexity Symposium. Perspectives on Politics 7 (1), 2009: 13-24; Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 996889; Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies Working Paper 07-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=996889

Karen J. Alter (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Department of Political Science ( email )

601 University Place
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law - iCourts Center of Excellence ( email )

Studiestraede 6
Studiestrade 6
Copenhagen, DK-1455
Denmark

Sophie Meunier-Aitsahalia

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

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