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The Rational Design of International Institutions
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  • Page extent: 356 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.48 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 341.2
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: JZ4850 .R38 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • International organization

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521533584 | ISBN-10: 0521533589)

DOI: 10.2277/0521533589

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 02:09 GMT, 28 November 2015)


International institutions vary widely in terms of key institutional features such as membership, scope, and flexibility. In this 2004 book, Barbara Koremenos, Charles Lipson, and Duncan Snidal argue that this is so because international actors are goal-seeking agents who make specific institutional design choices to solve the particular cooperation problems they face in different issue-areas. Using a Rational Design approach, they explore five features of institutions - membership, scope, centralization, control, and flexibility - and explain their variation in terms of four independent variables that characterize different cooperation problems: distribution, number of actors, enforcement, and uncertainty. The contributors to the volume then evaluate a set of conjectures in specific issue areas ranging from security organizations to trade structures to rules of war to international aviation. Alexander Wendt appraises the entire Rational Design model of evaluating international organizations and the authors respond in a conclusion that sets forth both the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach.

• Brings cutting-edge theoretical analysis to bear on real world international issues and institutions in an accessible way • Offers a wide range of case studies on topics covering security, political economy, and the environment • A tightly integrated volume where all authors address a set of integrated issues drawing on the same clear theoretical framework


1. The rational design of international institutions Barbara Koremenos et al.; 2. Trust building, trust breaking: the dilemma of NATO enlargement Andrew Kydd; 3. The optimal design of international trade institutions: uncertainty and escape B. Peter Rosendorff and Helen V. Milner; 4. Most-favored-nation clauses and cluster negotiations Robert Pahre; 5. Situation structure and institutional design: reciprocity, coercion, and exchange Ronald B. Mitchell and Patricia M. Keilbach; 6. Private justice in a global economy: from litigation to arbitration Walter Mattli; 7. Multilateralizing trade and payments in postwar Europe Thomas H. Oatley; 8. The institutional features of the Prisoners of War Treaties James D. Morrow; 9. Institutions for flying: how states built a market in international aviation service John E. Richards; 10. Driving with the rearview mirror: on the rational science of institutional design Alexander Wendt; 11. Rational design: looking back to move forward Barbara Koremenos et al.


Barbara Koremenos, Charles Lipson, Duncan Snidal, Andrew Kydd, B. Peter Rosendorff, Helen V. Milner, Robert Pahre, Ronald B. Mitchell, Patricia M. Keilbach, Walter Mattli, Thomas H. Oatley, James D. Morrow, John E. Richards, Alexander Wendt

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