Review of International Organizations
Department or Program
dispute settlement mechanisms, law of the sea, maritime boundaries, international cooperation
The literature on the institutionalization of international cooperation argues that states include dispute settlement procedures in their agreements to “tie the hands” of states. This paper reverses this thinking and shows that when a regime provides institutionalized dispute settlement, states sometimes seek to undo it. The settlement of maritime boundaries is a case in point. Governed by the Law of the Sea regime, which provides four institutional mechanisms for states to solve disputes, the vast majority of agreements specify bilateral negotiations as the only way to deal with future conflicts. The reason for this is that states pay attention to both the cost and flexibility of conflict resolutions mechanisms. We find that poorer states are more likely than wealthy states to specify bilateral negotiations, the cheapest and most flexible conflict resolution mechanism. Wealth differentials are also associated with greater demands for flexibility.
Ásgeirsdóttir, Á. & Steinwand, M. (2015). "Dispute settlement mechanisms and maritime boundary settlements." Review of International Organizations, 10(2), pp.119-143. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11558-015-9217-9
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This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Review of International Organizations. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11558-015-9217-9.