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.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
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 Economics; Underlying Principles
- F53 - International Economics - - International Relations 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.:
- Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2009.
"Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Good Experiments,"
2009-04, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
- Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gachter, 2010. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 541-56, March.
- Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2009. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Good Experiments," Discussion Papers 2009-04, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
- Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter, 2008. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Good Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 2491, CESifo Group Munich.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, .
"Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments,"
IEW - Working Papers
010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 1999. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 183, CESifo Group Munich.
- Rosenthal, Robert W., 1981. "Games of perfect information, predatory pricing and the chain-store paradox," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 92-100, August.
- Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gaechter & Ernst Fehr, .
"Are People Conditionally Cooperative? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment,"
IEW - Working Papers
016, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Fischbacher, Urs & Gachter, Simon & Fehr, Ernst, 2001. "Are people conditionally cooperative? Evidence from a public goods experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 397-404, June.
- Keohane, Robert O, 2002. "Rational Choice Theory and International Law: Insights and Limitations," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages S307-19, January.
- Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2008. "Punishment and counter-punishment in public good games: Can we really govern ourselves," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 91-112, February.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marc Martin).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.