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Reputation, Compliance, and International Law

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  • Downs, George W
  • Jones, Michael A
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    Abstract

    Increasingly skeptical about the efficiency and effectiveness of formal multilateral enforcement mechanisms, a growing number of international relations theorists and international lawyers have begun to argue that states' reputational concerns are actually the principal mechanism for maintaining a high level of treaty compliance. This essay argues that there are a number of empirical and theoretical reasons for believing that the actual effects of reputation are both weaker and more complicated than the standard view of reputation suggests. While states have reason to revise their estimates of a state's reputation following a defection or pattern of defections, they have reason to do so only in connection with those agreements that they believe are (1) affected by the same or similar sources of fluctuating compliance costs and (2) valued the same or less by the defecting state. Among the implications of this is that all but the newest states maintain multiple reputations. Copyright 2002 by the University of Chicago.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Legal Studies.

    Volume (Year): 31 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: S95-114

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:31:y:2002:i:1:p:s95-114

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    Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

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    Cited by:
    1. Axel Dreher & Stefan Voigt, 2008. "Does Membership in International Organizations Increase Governments’ Credibility? Testing the Effects of Delegating Powers," CESifo Working Paper Series 2285, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Jürg Vollenweider, 2013. "The effectiveness of international environmental agreements," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 343-367, September.
    3. Barbara Koremenos, 2013. "What’s left out and why? Informal provisions in formal international law," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 137-162, June.

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