The Demand for International Regimes

The Demand for International Regimes - T he Demand for...

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The Demand for International Regimes Robert O. Keohane International regimes are studied because they help us understand the order of world politics. This article attempts to improve the understanding of international order, and international cooperation, through an interpretation of international regime-formation that relies heavily on rational-choice analysis in the utilitarian social contract traditions. Theory of hegemonic stability: the view that concentration of power in one dominant state facilitates the development of strong regimes, and that fragmentation of power is associated with regimes collapse. This fails to explain lags between changes in power structures and changes in international regimes. The theory of hegemonic stability can be viewed as focusing only on the supply of international regimes: according to the theory, the more concentrated power is in an international systems, the greater the supply of international regimes at any level of demand. Emphasizing the demand for international regimes focuses out attention on why we should want them in the first place, rather then taking their desirability as a given. Factors affecting the demand for international regimes are likely simultaneously to affect their supply as well. Yet supply and demand language allows us to make a distribution that is useful in distinguishing phenomena that, in the first instance, affect the desire for regimes, on the one hand, or the ease of supplying them, on the other. 1.Systemic constraint- choice analysis: Virtues and limitations In a systemic theory, the actors’ characteristics are given by assumption, rather than treated as variables; changes in outcomes are explained not on the basis of variations in these actor characteristics, but on the basis of changes in the attributes of the system itself. Microeconomics- posits the existence of business firms, with given utility functions, and attempts to explain their behavior, on the basis of environmental factors such as the competitiveness of markets. A systemic focus permits a limitation of the number of variables that need to be considered Beginning the analysis at the systemic level establishes a baseline for future work. Deductive analysis can be used in interpretation as well as in a
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traditional strategy of theory-building and hypothesis-testing The author uses the rational-choice theory to develop models that help to explain trends or tendencies toward which patterns of behavior tend to converge. Constraint-choice analysis effectively captures the
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2011 for the course POLI 243 taught by Professor Markbrawley during the Spring '09 term at McGill.

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The Demand for International Regimes - T he Demand for...

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