Table of Contents

The Political Economy of International Law

The Political Economy of International Law

A European Perspective

Edited by Alberta Fabbricotti

Set in the context of growing interdisciplinarity in legal research, The Political Economy of International Law: A European Perspective provides a much-needed systematic and coherent review of the interactions between Political Economy and International Law. The book reflects the need felt by international lawyers to open their traditional frontiers to insights from other disciplines - and political economy in particular. The methodological approach of the book is to take the traditional list of topics for a general treatise of international law, and to systematically incorporate insights from political economy to each.

Chapter 1: Political Economy of International Law: Towards a Holistic Model of State Behaviour

Anne van Aaken and Joel P. Trachtman

Subjects: economics and finance, political economy, law - academic, european law, public international law, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, international relations, political economy


International relations have changed considerably since the end of the Cold War. Many new phenomena do not fit into the traditional State-centred Public International Law (PIL) normative frame, such as soft law, Non-State Actors (NSA) and hybrids as well as transnational legal processes. Furthermore, International Law (IL) now deals with many ‘behind the border’ issues that were not the concern of traditional PIL. How is IL rising to the challenge of capturing these factually new phenomena de lege lata and dealing with them in a normative context? When analysing old and new developments and asking why States cooperate and comply with PIL and how they design PIL, ‘why’ questions need to be asked. Social science provides tools to answer them and, as we submit in this Chapter, additionally we need to look into the ‘billiard ball’ State in order to answer them, in other words, we need to break up the black box of the State as a unitary actor and instead look at the Legoland – the bits and pieces constituting the ‘unitary actor’ – we live in. Political Economy (PE) has been used in the national realm to understand political outcomes, including laws and jurisprudence applied to all substantive matters. PE identifies the interests of relevant actors as well as the characteristics of the institutions through which they pursue their interests.