The Political Economy of International Cooperation

Lisa L. Martin

in Global Public Goods

Published in print July 1999 | ISBN: 9780195130522
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199867363 | DOI:
 The Political Economy of International Cooperation

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Over the past 15 years, the field of international relations has produced a great deal of work on international cooperation and international institutions. This work has immediate relevance for conceptualizing a new era and a new approach to international development cooperation. Once we understand development cooperation as a problem of providing global public goods, our attention is immediately drawn to the problems of strategic interaction and opportunistic behavior that confront states as they attempt to cooperate in the pursuit of mutually beneficial goals. Drawing on public goods models and related concerns, the literature on international cooperation identifies strategic problems that states must overcome if they are to cooperate effectively – and how international organizations can facilitate state efforts to cooperate, primarily through the provision of information. This chapter summarizes the central claims of political science about the conditions for international cooperation and the roles of international organizations and nonstate actors in helping states achieve the benefits of cooperation. It concludes that the most useful functions of international organizations involve the provision of information about state preferences and behavior – particularly about standards and causal knowledge.

Keywords: Coase theorem; compliance monitoring; coordination problem; development cooperation; global public goods; information and knowledge; international cooperation; international institutions; international relations; nonstate actors; prisoner's dilemma; standards; state preferences and behavior; strategic interaction

Chapter.  5259 words. 

Subjects: Public Economics

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