Lecture 17.docx

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31 Mar 2012
Lecture 17
International Institutions
Anything that crosses borders relies on institutions. Once we recognize their
importance, we will see them everywhere as the world is filled with them. In an anarchic
world with no world govt, we still want to cooperate and we need regulations and
stability. Institutions help us get there. Institutions have benefits: increased
cooperation, stability, prosperity, the emergence of governance. Governance can exist
without government. Governance is an amorphous system of regulations and rules
governing interactions. With the network of institutions govts are not really necessary.
Costs: decreased sovereignty, new dimensions of conflict, restricted ability of govts to
react to local needs and values as well as to rapid changes and shocks. Institutions
penetrate into your sovereignty and limit your abilities to decide what happens inside
your borders. It might affect the ability of the govt to react to local needs: govts unable
to choose structures reflecting local desires and now are choosing internationally
decided structures.
How can we understand institutions under anarchy?
Institutions: a set of customs, practices, relationships, or behavioural patterns of
importance in the life of a community or society; they are the rules of the fame, the
norms that regulate behaviour; they generate repetitive and predictable behaviour; they
define the social constraints and opportunities that actors face. All orgs are institutions
but not all inst are orgs. A lecture is an institution but not an org. Clear, predictable
expectations create efficiency. War, marriage, lectures, UTSU. Institutions can be social
conventions already understood. Institutions regulate patterns of behaviour.
Institutions define the menu of available practices (Young) .they constrain choice and
establish predictability. If you know the rule of the game you know the likely actions that
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an actor might pursue.
Sovereignty, balance of power, reciprocity and negotiations are institutions in IR.
Specific institutions in IR: United Nations (inst and org). It is a general form of
institution in IR, it is an example of the bigger institution, multilateral diplomacy.
Other types of institutions:
-International Organizations (IO•fs): IGOs, NGOs.
-International Regimes: a set of formal/informal rules, norms of behaviour, and
at times, organizations set around a specific issue area in international politics.
Regimes are often, but not always, codified in intl treaties and managed by intl
organizations (governance without govt) (a regime on whaling regulates the
practice of whaling managed by organizations to take care of the issue).
Examples: nuclear energy institutions, climate change institutions. It is an
analytical claim. All IO•fs and regimes are institutions but not all institutions are
IOfs or regimes.
Institutions are important if they can be independent actors and have an independent
impact; if they cannot they are not interesting because we do not need to study them as
we can study states. Can institutions be perceived as actors in IR? Do they have
agencies? Can they make a difference independent of the states creating them? Is the
UN more than the sum of its parts? Two ways of thinking: puppet (led by decisions of
their members) and Frankenstein (states create the institutions but after creation there
is not complete control over it). If they are puppets, we do not need to study them; they
are the interest of states, and we can focus on and study states. If they have their own
will and independence, we should pay attention to them. There is debate about what
they really are: puppet vs. Frankenstein.
Why have institutions in IR?
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A rationalist/realist explanation: the permanent interests of states to put their
normal relations on a stable by providing for predictable and enforceable conduct with
respect to these relations (Morgenthau). It might be in the interest of states to create
Liberal: reducing transactions costs (a cost incurred while making an exchange or an
interaction) through: the provision of information; coordinate expectations; increase the
probability of iteration and enable enforcement through reciprocity. If there were no
benefits from cooperation, there would be no institutions. If cooperation were easy (no
costs or risks of exploitation) there would be no need for institutions (Keohane).
Institutions solve the problem of anarchy.
The Stag Hunt: everybody gains most if they cooperate; everyone wants to cooperate
(states). If every state hunts the stag, they all win by 5. If I defect and my friends hunt
the stag, I get the rabbit and they get nothing. If everyone goes for the rabbit, everyone
will eat a little bit of rabbit. (5,5), the Nash Equilibrium where everyone wins, is the
most likely outcome. If they had institutions regulating their cooperation, there would
be no reason to cooperate without temptation to defect. Post-institutions we have
cooperation, coordination, guarantees and stability. Realists believe in relative gains and
institutions help them. The World is more of a Stag Hunt rather than a Prisoner•fs
*Repeated iterations (playing the game over and over; same people and outcomes):
-Tit for tat
-The shadow of the future. They increase the SotF. Reduces the shadow as it
brings stability and certainty.
-Reputation (the interaction with the same actors bring reputation).
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