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Choosing anarchy: institutional alternatives and the global order

  • Moonhawk Kim (a1) and Scott Wolford (a2)

The international system may be anarchic, but anarchy is neither fixed nor inevitable. We analyze collective choices between anarchy, a system of inefficient self-enforcement, and external enforcement, where punishment is delegated to a third party at some upfront cost. In equilibrium, external enforcement (establishing governments) prevails when interaction density is high, the costs of integration are low, and violations are difficult to predict, but anarchy (drawing borders) prevails when at least one of these conditions fail. We explore the implications of this theory for the causal role of anarchy in international relations theory, the integration and disintegration of political units, and the limits and possibilities of cooperation through international institutions.

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International Theory
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