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date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter begins with a discussion of the architecture of international law. The economic analysis of international law, like virtually all writing on international law, tends to focus on the state as the key unit. As states pursue their individual goals they will inevitably create externalities that affect other states, creating a gap between what is optimal for an individual state and what is globally efficient. The business of international cooperation and international law can be conceived of as an attempt to close that gap. Central to the international legal system are formally binding agreements among states. States enter into what amounts to contracts in an effort to address externalities created by their actions. The remainder of the chapter deals with economic issues in international law (trade, environment, human rights and humanitarian law, use of force, and investment).

Keywords: economic analysis, international law, international agreements, international cooperation, treaties, soft law, customary international law, international organizations

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