New publication by Christian Arnold


Dr Christian Arnold published an Article in the Nuffield College Working Papers in Politics. "A Different Kind of Game: International Cooperation in Mercosur" takes a closer look at the institutional reasons for Mercosur's incorporation problems.

Link to article:

Christian Arnold is a Departmental Lecturer at the Latin American Centre at the University of Oxford. His research interests include international cooperation with a particular view on the creation, change and effect of international institutions. He recently completed his Ph.D. at the Graduate School of Economic and Social Sciences at the University of Mannheim in 2012.

Abstract: Compliance is a key concern in international cooperation, because contracting is based on the reliability of all partners. Typically, free-riding is believed to be its main impediment in international relations. This paper presents an institutional outlier that solves this issue, but only to the cost of other strategic inefficiencies. In the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), its four member states Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay cannot benefit from the efforts of others, but are rather inclined to make false promises. Normally, international agreements turn out to be legally binding once a state ratifies the international contract at the domestic level. In Mercosur, policies are legally binding only when all four countries have ratified it. Given Mercosur’s weak provisions for enforcement, actors prefer to reap benefits from contracting alone, knowing that they can de-facto veto it easily at a later stage. The paper offers a formal model in the appendix which shows the consistency of the argument. It substantiates the theoretical claims with the statistical analysis of Mercosur’s complete ratification record of all 1033 regulations between 1994 and 2008.