Enforcement of International Law

Paul B. Stephan

in The Oxford Handbook of Law and Economics

Published in print April 2017 | ISBN: 9780199684250
Published online May 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191764899 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Economics

Enforcement of International Law

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This chapter examines the issue of international law enforcement. The absence of an international state means that international law relies principally on complex enforcement mechanisms, as opposed to a single powerful law enforcer. The focus is thus on the design and operation of enforcement mechanisms under conditions of decentralized power and authority. The chapter first considers the distinction between formal and self-enforcement of international law. It reviews debates over the use of both permanent and ad hoc institutional enforcers and the array of enforcement mechanisms that these institutions may use. It then examines informal enforcement and explores the question of whether formal and informal mechanisms are complements or substitutes. Next, it looks at the trade-offs between state and private enforcement of international law. Finally, it considers questions of optimal international law enforcement, including supracompensatory remedies.

Keywords: law; economics; international law; law enforcement; self-enforcement; private enforcement; supracompensatory remedies

Article.  7520 words. 

Subjects: Industry Studies ; Public Economics

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