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Patently Misleading: Partial Implementation and Bargaining Leverage in Sino-American Negotiations on Intellectual Property Rights

  • Andrew Mertha (a1) and Robert Pahre (a2)

We develop a model of international negotiation in which states anticipate that the agreements they sign will only be partly implemented. The results differ significantly from theories of domestic ratification that have previously been applied to this problem. Negotiators do not try to satisfy the implementer and may even choose agreements that the implementer would explicitly reject in a ratification model. Partial implementation also makes it possible for two negotiators to reach agreements outside their usual win-set. This situation may allow one country to make extraordinary concessions, knowing that some provisions will never be fully implemented. We apply these claims to Sino-American negotiations over intellectual property rights, where implementation has been a recurrent issue. The theory enriches the theory of two-level games, which has focused much too narrowly on formal ratification without amendment as the canonical case of domestic influence over international bargaining.An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association in Chicago. We would like to thank Aslaug Asgeirsdottir, Brian Gaines, Lisa Martin, two anonymous referees, and attendees at the MPSA panel for their comments. Any errors remain our responsibility.

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International Organization
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