Publication Title

Journal of Conflict Resolution

Document Type


Department or Program


Publication Date



bargaining, democratic institutions, international cooperation, international institutions, international law, international regimes, international treaties, negotiation


Outside options can induce bargaining asymmetries that influence the outcome of international negotiations. This article focuses, however, on the impact of a regime-provided inside option on the willingness to cooperate and the distributive outcomes reached. Using a new data set covering 417 maritime boundaries, that fall under the Law of the Sea framework, this article shows that the ability to find agreement is closely linked to the distributional outcomes that states are able to realize. Different potential gains from cooperation result in bargaining asymmetries that influence both the ability to settle a maritime boundary and the distributive outcome reached when cooperation succeeds. Our evidence shows that the opportunity to invest in long-term projects that require legal certainty, such as offshore oil, facilitates cooperation and is associated with smaller distributional adjustments.

Copyright Note

This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Bates College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.

Required Publisher's Statement

Ásgeirsdóttir, Á & Steinwand, M., "Distributive Outcomes in Contested Maritime Areas: The Role of Inside Options in Settling Competing Claims.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 62(6) pp. 1284-1313 Copyright © 2016. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.