Varieties of Cooperation: Government Networks in International Security
Title: Varieties of Cooperation: Government Networks in International Security
Author: EILSTRUP-SANGIOVANNI, Mette
Series/Report no.: EUI RSCAS; 2007/24; TRANSATLANTIC PROGRAMME SERIES
A growing literature touts the prominence of international cooperation among substate officials through so-called transgovernmental networks (TGNs). These networks are allegedly faster, cheaper and more flexible than conventional international treaty organizations (ITOs) (e.g. Slaughter, 2004). Yet, TGNs are not evenly distributed, either in terms of geography or issue-area. While some policyareas are characterized by networked cooperation, others continue to be dominated by formal ITOs. How can we explain such variation? I draw on recent network studies in public policy, economics and sociology to theorize the conditions in which states may prefer cooperation through TGNs. I have two main findings: First, TGNs are designed to deal with cooperation problems of a different nature than those addressed by ITOs. ITOs aim to reduce transaction costs, enhance credibility of interstate agreements and solve problems of incomplete contracting. By contrast, the chief benefit of TGNs is to provide policy flexibility and untie the hands of national executives, allowing them to bypass domestic and international constraints on policy. Second, TGNs are not a panacea for international problemsolving. Rather, they are useful tools in situations where states are reluctant to embrace treaty-based cooperation due to sovereignty concerns or environmental uncertainty. The argument is applied against three cases drawn from the ordinarily hierarchical realm of international security cooperation.
Subject: Transgovernmental Networks; International Security Cooperation; Functional Regime Theory; Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI); Missile Technogoly Control Regime (MTCR)
Type of Access: openAccess