In today’s world, many of the most pressing threats, such as Covid-19 and global climate change, cannot be managed by countries acting on their own; international cooperation between states is required. Yet, it is also difficult to achieve.
This class examines the scholarly literature on international cooperation and what it has to say about when, why, and how international cooperation occurs, and with what level of success. We will discuss when international cooperation is most urgent, what the obstacles to cooperation are, how international organizations can help states overcome these obstacles, the level of compliance international institutions evoke, why and when states comply with their commitments, and how international institutions might sometimes prove more influential than expected. The class does not focus on any specific area of cooperation and instead draws from a broad theoretical literature that covers cooperation on a diverse set of economic, security, environmental, and human rights issues. We will read articles on such diverse topics as the laws of war, military alliances, election monitoring, the international criminal court, oil pollution of the seas, the IMF and World Bank, and monetary cooperation, among others.
The class will not only introduce you to classical and cutting-edge scholarly research on the topic of international cooperation, but is also designed to foster your ability to pursue original research on international cooperation, by learning to ask novel and interesting questions, to formulate compelling arguments, and to devise systematic empirical tests.