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A Strategic Theory of Regime Integration and Separation

  • Tana Johnson (a1) and Johannes Urpelainen (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 10 October 2012

States frequently disagree on the importance of cooperation in different issue areas. Under these conditions, when do states prefer to integrate regimes instead of keeping them separated? We develop a strategic theory of regime integration and separation. The theory highlights the nature of spillovers between issues. Positive spillovers exist when cooperation in one issue area aids the pursuit of objectives in another issue area; negative spillovers exist when cooperation in one issue area impedes this pursuit in another issue area. Conventional wisdom suggests that both positive and negative spillovers foster greater integration. We argue that negative spillovers encourage integration while positive spillovers do not. States integrate not to exploit positive spillovers between issues but to mitigate negative spillovers. To test our theory, we examine the degree of integration or separation among environmental regimes.

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International Organization
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