Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 July 2009
This book aims at advancing our understanding of the influences international norms and international institutions have over the incentives of states to cooperate on issues such as environment and trade. The different contributions to this book adopt two different approaches in examining this question. One approach focuses on the constitutive elements of the international legal order, including customary international law, soft law and framework conventions, and on the types of incentives states have, such as domestic incentives and reputation. The other approach examines closely specific issues in the areas of international environment protection and international trade. The combined outcome of these two approaches is a more refined understanding of the forces that pull states toward closer cooperation or prevents them from doing so, and the impact of different types of international norms and diverse institutions on the motivation of states. The insights gained suggest ways for enhancing states' incentives to cooperate through the design of norms and institutions.
This introduction begins with an overview of contemporary international law (IL) – international relations (IR) scholarship, to be followed by a short description of the contributions to this book.
The point of departure of this book is that the disciplines of IL and IR are inexorably interlinked. Neither can be understood properly in isolation. Like every legal system that operates in a specific societal system, international law functions in the international system.