To save this undefined to your undefined account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your undefined account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
In Rewarding in International Law, Anna van Aaken and Betül Simsek organize and refocus much of the existing literature on international cooperation and compliance highlighting the set of positive and negative tools available. In this essay, I extend the Rewarding framework, making some additional distinctions between the concepts, which both highlight the possibility of rewarding in international law and sketch the limits for such analysis. The first part differentiates rationalistic conceptions of reputation, on the one hand, and behavioral notions of self-esteem, on the other, as analytically distinct mechanisms for rewarding. By pulling these concepts apart, this essay emphasizes the different causal paths for influencing government actors and makes the case for an independent place for self-esteem in the Rewarding framework. In the second part, this essay questions whether rewards are always positive (and thus Pareto efficient) in light of third-party effects. Some rewards are competitive; a reward to one party is a relative punishment to third parties who are competitively disadvantaged by an exclusion from the reward. The incorporation of third-party analysis underscores the political limits of rewarding stemming from third-party resistance to rewarding or, alternatively, demands for additional rewards from third parties that can create capacity concerns for rewarding states.
Anne van Aaken and Betül Simsek's article represents a significant contribution to the literature on international legal compliance. It pushes forward our understanding of the role that positive incentives play in its promotion, usefully highlights potential tradeoffs between positive and negative incentives, and identifies ways in which rewards and penalties may be employed together. While the authors suggest that a richer understanding of rewarding is useful for questions of institutional design, they purposefully focus on the compliance-side of the coin. This essay builds on their theoretical and conceptual ground-clearing to consider rewarding's implications for treaty negotiations and design. In doing so, it focuses on the role that time implicitly plays in the authors’ analysis and argues that assumptions about time horizons inflect all design calculations. For this reason, understandings of temporal dynamics should be foregrounded in both academic and policy realms.
Explaining the drivers of compliance with international law has been a central concern of international lawyers (and many others) for decades. As international agreements have proliferated—exact numbers are elusive, but there may be 75,000 or more—understanding compliance has only grown in importance. In previous work we each have explored the question of compliance, focusing on the conceptual difficulties with compliance as a measure of effectiveness, the role of reputation, and other factors. The literature on compliance with international law is rich, interdisciplinary, and, at this point, over three decades old. In Rewarding in International Law, Anne van Aaken and Betül Simsek seek to offer a new perspective on the enduring topic of compliance: that of rewarding. In this essay, we suggest that rewards, when properly defined, are a conceptually interesting but empirically rare tool in the arsenal of states seeking to improve compliance with international law.
Rewarding in International Law foregrounds a topic that has been in the compliance literature for years but, as Anne van Aaken and Betül Simsek point out, tends to get treated as the mirror opposite of penalizing and therefore of little distinct analytical significance. In this essay, I seek to engage with their argument not by way of critique but rather to highlight some gaps and build on their insights. I introduce the notion of “status” as a reward and identify institutional mechanisms for conferring status, arguing that this is especially important in the multilateral context where institutions tend to be more prominent than in bilateral, transactional relations.
Compliance in international law remains a challenge and the search to understand whether and why states comply with international human rights law endures as well. This essay endorses van Aaken and Simsek's contention that rewarding is an important yet underexplored mechanism for ensuring compliance with international law, but suggests that certain features of international human rights law may make rewarding less apposite in the human rights sphere for three interrelated reasons. First, compliance with international human rights law depends on domestic as well as international action, potentially rendering rewarding between states less relevant. Second, the unique and complex structure of international human rights law obligations and their measurement may make an assessment of the effectiveness of rewarding more difficult, at least for certain categories of rights and obligations. Third, rewarding may be inappropriate in international human rights law given its core normative purpose of protecting human dignity. As such, this essay explores whether rewarding can or should be pursued in international human rights law.