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Neo-Liberal Institutionalism. The Prisoners’ Dilemma. Player 1. Player 2. Neo-Liberal Institutionalism. Accepts the basic assumptions of realism States: main actors States: unitary, rational actors Goals: states follow their interests

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the prisoners dilemma
The Prisoners’ Dilemma

Player 1

Player 2

neo liberal institutionalism1
Neo-Liberal Institutionalism
  • Accepts the basic assumptions of realism
    • States: main actors
    • States: unitary, rational actors
    • Goals: states follow their interests
      • -but have multiple interests in addition to security and power
      • -power not always fungible
    • System: anarchical, no central authority
central question
Central Question

What Facilitates Cooperation in an Anarchical System?

  • Robert Axelrod The Evolution of Cooperation (1984)
  • If you play the PD repeatedly the winning/dominant strategy is TIT FOR TAT, not DEFECT
  • Implications:
    • Cooperation can get started even in a world of unconditional defection;
    • Iteration, long term horizons important;
    • Strategy of reciprocity can thrive where many other strategies of cooperation fail
    • Once established cooperation based on reciprocity can protect itself from invasion of other strategies
conditions for cooperation
Conditions for Cooperation
  • Hegemonic Interest (Realism and Institutionalism)
  • Repeated interaction
    • Repeated PD: dominant strategy is “Tit-for-Tat”; NOT “Defect”
  • No immediate threat to state survival
  • Smaller number of actors
  • Type of cooperation dilemma
international regimes
International Regimes
  • “…implicit or explicit principles, norms, rules, and decision making procedures around which actors’ expectations converge in a given area of international relations.”

Stephen Krasner (1983) International Regimes, p.2.

Example: GATT/WTO

institutions facilitate cooperation
Institutions Facilitate Cooperation
  • Institutionalize iteration
  • Provide information
  • Credible commitments
  • Issue linkage
  • Reduce transaction costs
    • make agreements and monitoring less costly to administer
  • Resolve distribution conflicts
realist critique
Realist Critique
  • Institutions reflect the distribution of power and interests and therefore are irrelevant
  • Neo-liberal have ignored the problem of relative gains that would inhibit or shape cooperation
  • Little empirical evidence that institutions matter