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BOOK REVIEW

How International Law Works:
A Rational Choice Theory

Reviewer................: Fika Yulialdina Hakim.,SH.,LL.M
Number of page......: 260 pages
Language...............: English
Author...................: Andrew T. Gusman
Publisher................: Oxford University Press

 

How International Law Works: A Rational Choice Theory

International law is often confronted with foundational questions, for instance: how does international law affect State behavior? Why would States pay any attention to international law in the absence of coercive enforcement mechanism as the primary tool used to generate compliance in the national legal system? Does international law is binding meanwhile States can almost always choose to violate it ? However, People who study international law believe that international law affect State conduct and it can usefully be deployed to address serious problems among nations.

States efforts to come into compliance with international law are not limited to the way they react to judicial decisions. States also have made changes to domestic legislation in response to the demands of international agreements. Further evidence of how international affect State behavior can be found by examining individual States decisions and drawing inferences about whether those decisions are motivated by relevant international rules.

This book seeks to contribute a comprehensive and theoretically sound of international law from a rational choice of perspective. It also explains how international law is able to constrain States, even when those states have no intrinsic preference for compliance with the requirements of international law. This book also explains how international law is able to affect State behavior despite a lack of coercive enforcement mechanism. The theory developed in this book explains: Three Rs of Compliance - Reputation, Reciprocity and Retaliation. In addition, this book also demonstrates that both bilateral and multilateral agreements have the potential to influence State behavior, how States choose between hard and soft law instruments, how substantive content and form interact within an international agreement and why agreement vary so widely in their scope and membership.

With respect to customary international law, the author shows that a rational choice model of State behavior is fully consistent with customary legal rules that affect the actions of States, and customary international law requires a rethinking of some of the traditional doctrine approaches to the subject, including the definition of customary international law and the role of State practice in its creation.

The most theoretical discussion in this book is, how international law can influence states. All of the foregoing evidence suggest that international law affects the behavior of States in at least some instances and that international law has an important role to play in facilitating cooperation among States.

Fundamental to understanding international law is the recognition that it is just one of many factors that affect the incentives of States. International institutions including international law are participants in international legal system that influence the norms and attitudes of States.

This book is interested in questions relating to compliance with international law and cooperation in international law affairs. Eventually, this book focuses on international law more specifically on the primary sources of international law : treaties and customary international law. Furthermore, it also examines "soft law". This book, however, will not attempt to offer an expansive theory of all forces that impact State behavior.

Chapter one discusses gives introduction on international law, methodology used in this book (explains further .....), compliance and effectiveness in International Law and the scope of the book.

Chapter two explains a general theory of International Law, the Three Rs of compliance, international tribunals and States responsibility, payoffs and strategies over time, modulating the level of commitment, coercion and international agreements, and multilateral cooperation.

Chapter three explains on the reputation. The author describes how reputation is gained and lost, managing reputation over time, the role of information, the compartmentalizing of reputation, and limits and caveats.

Chapter four discusses on International Agreements. The author explains why States make agreements, matters of its forms, the interaction of form and substance, the scope of agreements, membership in international agreements and conclusion.

Chapter five elucidates on customary international law. The author describes on the traditional definition of customary international law, rational choice critics, compliance and customary international law, opinion juris, State practice, Pacta sunt servanda as an example of customary international law, and customary international law and other international law.

Chapter six is conclusion. In this chapter, the author mentioned, this book seeks to develop general rational choice theory capable of explaining the subject. The basics of the theory are simple and rely on the three ways of violation of international law can generate costs for a state. Three Rs : reputation, reciprocal non-compliance, and retaliation. Thus, a state that does not comply with its international legal obligations may suffer because it finds it more difficult to make credible international commitments or benefit from international law in the future (reputation); because other states terminate their own compliance (reciprocity); or because other States punish it, even when doing so is costly (retaliation). Each of the Three Rs of Compliance can increase the costs of violation and therefore, promote cooperation.


 

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