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Institutionalist theory

Institutionalist theory

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Institutionalist theory

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  1. Institutionalist theory Robert O. Keohane and Lisa L. Martin

  2. Topics for today • Events of the day/week • Review: Institutionalist theory Hans Peter Schmitz

  3. Institutionalism • Robert O. Keohane and Lisa L. Martin • The Promise of Institutionalist Theory • Institutionalism is utilitarian and rationalistic (just like realism, p. 39). Hans Peter Schmitz

  4. What’s wrong with realism? • Empirical problems • Example: European integration; end of NATO • Lack of operationalization • Bias/unqualified generalizations • Logical contradictions Conclusion: Institutions matter. Hans Peter Schmitz

  5. States and IGOs: empirical questions • Why do states invest in (some) international institutions? • Mearsheimer: because policy makers are ideological and irrational (p. 40) • Keohane/Martin: because policy makers are utilitarian and rational (p. 41). Hans Peter Schmitz

  6. Realism: a theory? • Whenever realism is shown to be wrong, its proponents resort to ad hoc and ex post accounts. • Institutionalism: State leaders will only agree to cooperation if they can expect to benefit. • Constructivism: Institutions are created because it is “the right thing to do.” Hans Peter Schmitz

  7. Defending Institutionalism • Institutionalism applies to economic and security issues (p. 43). • Institutionalism is not only concerned with ‘free-riding’ (absolute gains) but also with distributional conflicts (relative gains). Hans Peter Schmitz

  8. What institutions do • Providing information (p. 43) • Realism: worst-case scenarios: arms race • Institutionalism: information allows for realizing self-interest Hans Peter Schmitz

  9. Relative and absolute gains • Realism: focus on dyadic relationships where both states want the same (security, territory, etc.) • Institutionalism: focus on the ‘real world,’ multiple states, combined distributional issues. • Institutions are actually more important in conflicts about relative gains (p. 45). • Institutions provide focal points in complex negotiations. • Institutions help ensure that all side win equally. Hans Peter Schmitz

  10. Prisoner’s Dilemma: reciprocity • Specific reciprocity: tit-for-tat strategy. • Diffuse reciprocity: general trust in cooperative outcomes. What are the conditions under which institutions provide reliable information to states? Hans Peter Schmitz

  11. Causes and effects • Institutions as dependent variable: Institutions are created by states because of their anticipated benefits. • HPS: liberal institutionalism: demand for cooperation is created domestically. • Institutions as independent variable: Do they matter? How? Why? Hans Peter Schmitz

  12. Effects of institutions Institutions “Prevent cheating, lower transaction costs, link issues, and provide focal points for cooperation” (p. 49). But: we do not know enough about when institutions matter most, how they matter, and what conditions mitigate their influence. Hans Peter Schmitz

  13. Luck and IR theories How would you characterize Luck’s view? Which IR perspectives shape his arguments? Hans Peter Schmitz