The transformational model of international regime design: Triumph of hope or experience?

  • Downs G
  • Danish K
  • Barsoom P
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International legal scholars have grown increasingly, interested in the
development and design of international treaty regimes. Recently one
particular design strategy, often referred to as the Transformational
Approach, has acquired great currency especially in connection with
environmental regimes where if has played a major role in the
construction of the climate change regime. Regimes designed in
accordance with the Transformational Approach are believed to generate
increasingly greater commitment and deeper cooperation through a process
of iterative, state-to-state negotiation that promotes identity
convergence. To achieve these effects, advocates of the Transformational
Approach prescribe that regimes be highly inclusive, minimize the
stringency) of obligations, de-emphasize enforcement in favor of a
``managerial{''} approach, and utilize decision-making rules requiring
near unanimity,. In this essay, the authors argue that, while the
Transformational Approach has some normative attractiveness, ifs
theoretical underpinnings are less than compelling. Among other
problems, its design characteristics carl obstruct a variety of of her
processes that both constructivists and nonconstructivists alike believe
carl promote preference change and cooperation. Moreover; an empirical
survey of international environmental treaties suggests that regimes
designed according to Transformational tenets have not experienced a
significant amount of cooperative evolution since their initiation and,
of greater concern, have actually generates' less cooperative depth than
non-Transformational agreements.

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  • SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-0347945164
  • ISSN: 0010-1931
  • SGR: 0347945164
  • PUI: 31504458


  • G W Downs

  • K W Danish

  • P N Barsoom

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