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An Economic Analysis of State and Individual Responsibility Under International Law


  • Eric A. Posner
  • Alan O. Sykes


The international law of state responsibility determines when states are liable for international law violations. States are generally liable when they have control over the actions of wrongdoers; thus, the actions of state officials can implicate state responsibility whereas the acts of private citizens usually do not. We argue that the rules of state responsibility have an economic logic similar to that of vicarious liability in domestic law: the law in both cases provides third parties with incentives to control the behavior of wrongdoers whom they can monitor and influence. We also discuss international legal remedies and individual liability under international criminal law. Copyright 2007, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric A. Posner & Alan O. Sykes, 2007. "An Economic Analysis of State and Individual Responsibility Under International Law," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 72-134.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:9:y:2007:i:1:p:72-134

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    Cited by:

    1. Robert J. Dijkstra, 2017. "Is limiting financial supervisory liability a way to prevent defensive conduct? The outcome of a European survey," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 59-81, February.

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