Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 May 2009
Domestic politics and international relations are often inextricably entangled, but existing theories (particularly “state-centric” theories) do not adequately account for these linkages. When national leaders must win ratification (formal or informal) from their constituents for an international agreement, their negotiating behavior reflects the simultaneous imperatives of both a domestic political game and an international game. Using illustrations from Western economic summitry, the Panama Canal and Versailles Treaty negotiations, IMF stabilization programs, the European Community, and many other diplomatic contexts, this article offers a theory of ratification. It addresses the role of domestic preferences and coalitions, domestic political institutions and practices, the strategies and tactics of negotiators, uncertainty, the domestic reverberation of international pressures, and the interests of the chief negotiator. This theory of “two-level games” may also be applicable to many other political phenomena, such as dependency, legislative committees, and multiparty coalitions.
1. The following account is drawn from Putnam, Robert D. and Henning, C. Randall, “The Bonn Summit of 1978: How Does International Economic Policy Coordination Actually Work?” Brookings Discussion Papers in International Economics, no. 531 (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 10 1986)Google Scholar, and Putnam, Robert D. and Bayne, Nicholas, Hanging Together: Cooperation and Conflict in the Seven-Power Summits, rev. ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987), pp. 62–94Google Scholar.
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26. To avoid unnecessary complexity, my argument throughout is phrased in terms of a single chief negotiator, although in many cases some of his responsibilities may be delegated to aides. Later in this article I relax the assumption that the negotiator has no independent preferences.
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29. This stipulation is, in fact, characteristic of most real-world ratification procedures, such as House and Senate action on conference committee reports, although it is somewhat violated by the occasional practice of appending “reservations” to the ratification of treaties.
30. New York Times,26 September 1986.
32. To avoid tedium, I do not repeat the “other things being equal” proviso in each of the propositions that follow. Under some circumstances an expanded win-set might actually make practicable some outcome that could trigger a dilemma of collective action. See Crawford, Vincent P., “A Theory of Disagreement in Bargaining,” Econometrica 50 (05 1982), pp. 607–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
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38. This discussion implicitly assumes uncertainty about the contours of the win-sets on the part of the Level I negotiators, for if the win-sets were known with certainty, the negotiators would never propose for ratification an agreement that would be rejected.
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45. In more formal treatments, the no-agreement outcome is called the “reversion point.” A given constituent's evaluation of no-agreement corresponds to what Raiffa terms a seller's “walk-away price,” that is, the price below which he would prefer “no-deal.” (Raiffa, Art and Science of Negotiation.) No-agreement is equivalent to what Snyder and Diesing term “breakdown,” or the expected cost of war. (Snyder and Diesing, Conflict Among Nations.)
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51. Habeeb and Zartman, Panama Canal Negotiations.
52. Bailey, Wilson and the Great Betrayal.
53. I am grateful to Ernst B. Haas and Robert O. Keohane for helpful advice on this point.
56. I am indebted to Lisa Martin and Kenneth Shepsle for suggesting this approach, although they are not responsible for my application of it. Note that this construction assumes that each issue, taken individually, is a “homogeneous” type, not a “heterogeneous” type. Constructing iso-vote curves for heterogeneous-type issues is more complicated.
57. I am grateful to Henry Brady for clarifying this point for me.
58. Gilbert R. Winham, “The Relevance of Clausewitz to a Theory of International Negotiation,” prepared for delivery at the 1987 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association.
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60. Winham (see note 37); Twiggs, The Tokyo Round.
62. Artis and Ostry, International Economic Policy Coordination. Of course, whether this is desirable in terms of democratic values is quite another matter.
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68. Velebit, Vladimir, in Campbell, , Trieste 1954, p. 97Google Scholar. As noted earlier, our discussion here assumes that the Level I negotiator wishes to reach a ratifiable agreement; in cases (alluded to later) when the negotiator's own preferences are more hard-line than his constituents, his domestic popularity might allow him to resist Level I agreements.
69. Transaction benefits may be enhanced if a substantive agreement is reached, although sometimes leaders can benefit domestically by loudly rejecting a proffered international deal.
72. I am grateful to Robert O. Keohane for pointing out the impact of uncertainty on the expected value of proposals.
73. Zartman, I. William, The 50% Solution (Garden City, N.J.: Anchor Books, 1976), p. 14Google Scholar. The present analysis assumes that constituents are myopic about the other side's Level II, an assumption that is not unrealistic empirically. However, a fully informed constituent would consider the preferences of key players on the other side, for if the current proposal lies well within the other side's win-set, then it would be rational for the constituent to vote against it, hoping for a second-round proposal that was more favorable to him and still ratifiable abroad; this might be a reasonable interpretation of Senator Lodge's position in 1919 (Bailey, Wilson and the Great Betrayal). Consideration of such strategic voting at Level II is beyond the scope of this article.
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76. On cognitive and communications explanations of international cooperation, see, for example, Haas, Ernst B., “Why Collaborate? Issue-Linkage and International Regimes,” World Politics 32 (04 1980), pp 357–405Google Scholar; Cooper, Richard N., “International Cooperation in Public Health as a Prologue to Macroeconomic Cooperation,” Brookings Discussion Papers in International Economics 44 (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1986)Google Scholar; and Zartman, 50% Solution, especially Part 4.
78. This is the approach used to analyze the Anglo-Chinese negotiations over Hong Kong in de Mesquita, Bruce Bueno, Newman, David, and Rabushka, Alvin, Forecasting Political Events: The Future of Hong Kong (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985)Google Scholar.
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