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Anarchy and the limits of cooperation: a realist critique of the newest liberal institutionalism


  • Grieco, Joseph M.


The newest liberal institutionalism asserts that, although it accepts a major realist proposition that international anarchy impedes cooperation among states, it can nevertheless affirm the central tenets of the liberal institutionalist tradition that states can achieve cooperation and that international institutions can help them work together. However, this essay's principal argument is that neoliberal institutionalism misconstrues the realist analysis of international anarchy and therefore it misunderstands realism's analysis of the inhibiting effects of anarchy on the willingness of states to cooperate. This essay highlights the profound divergences between realism and the newest liberal institutionalism. It also argues that the former is likely to be proven analytically superior to the latter.

Suggested Citation

  • Grieco, Joseph M., 1988. "Anarchy and the limits of cooperation: a realist critique of the newest liberal institutionalism," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(03), pages 485-507, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:42:y:1988:i:03:p:485-507_02

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    21. Jonathan Bendor & Piotr Swistak, 1998. "Evolutionary Equilibria: Characterization Theorems and Their Implications," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 99-159, October.
    22. Anand Menon, 2011. "Power, Institutions and the CSDP: The Promise of Institutionalist Theory," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 83-100, January.

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