An Experimental Contribution to the Theory of Customary (International) Law
AbstractIn their majority, public international lawyers postulate that for a new rule of customary law to originate, two conditions must be fulfilled: there must be consistent practice, and it must be shown that this practice is motivated by the belief that such behaviour is required in law. Maurice Mendelson (Recueil des Cours 272 (1998) 155) has challenged this view. He believes that the majority view ignores the fundamentally incomplete nature of public international law. He claims that the new rule emerges because mere practice leads to convergent expectations. This paper uses data from student experiments with a linear public good to show that behaviour con-verges even absent verbal communication; that convergence is guided by mean contributions in the previous round, which serve as an implicit norm; that freeriding on this implicit norm is re-garded as illegitimate; that cooperation can be stabilised at a high level if “reprisals” are permitted. Hence the mechanism of norm formation proposed by Maurice Mendelson is fully borne out by the experimental data.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in its series Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods with number 2010_13.
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
experiment; customary international law; opinio iuris; linear public good;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
- K33 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - International Law
- D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics; Underlying Principles
- F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-06-26 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2010-06-26 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2010-06-26 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2010-06-26 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-LAW-2010-06-26 (Law & Economics)
- NEP-PBE-2010-06-26 (Public Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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