Compliance & Public Authority

A Theory with International Applications

Edited by Oran R. Young

© 2011 – RFF Press

172 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9781617260605
pub: 2011-01-19
US Dollars$120.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Offers a theory of compliance and authority that wouild be applicable to behavior concerning economic contracts, law, enforcement, and international relations. It examiones the problem of compliance in centralized (e.g. national and state laws) and decentralized (international treaties) systems. Applies the theory to explain the level of compliance with Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty anf the International North Pacific Fisheries Convention. Originally published in 1979


'This book is important because it tackles the most fundamental questions confronting policy makers in international politics: can compliance with international agreements be obtained in decentralized social systems with no central authority? ? Young's work is rich and complex and goes much beyond the mostly normative and simplistic analyses of compliance in international relations that have been produced in the past.' American Political Science Review 'This is an important work that should be read by a broad spectrum of social scientists and legal philosophers. [The author] focuses on the issue of compliance with the behavioral prescriptions of societies (rules, laws, standards, norms, contracts, and agreements). He treats compliance as a matter of choice, with violation always a possible alternative. He develops the argument precisely and rigorously, chooses his labels carefully, and juxtaposes this perspective against others… It is must reading.' Arthur Stein, UCLA 'In a provocative and cogently reasoned essay, Young observes that non-compliance may no greater be a problem in the international system that it is in domestic systems. He would largely transform scholarly focus from a fixation on problems of enforcement to an examination of the scope, personal considerations, and social forces that lead to compliance… On the basis of insights gleaned from a very thorough survey of the literature and the case studies, he reconsiders some of the problems of compliance, observing that a binary choice is rarely involved, that normative generality and situational variety often permit multiple ways of complying, and that compliance vel non is not always easy to access scientifically.' American Journal of International Law '… The appropriate adjectives for Compliance and Public Authority include 'original', 'integrative, and 'invigorating'… [Young] offer[s] crisp, candid insights into the what and why of major research contributions from the disciplines across which compliance is relevant. Examples from political science, philosophy, law, economics, public choice, decision theory, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and international relations are succinctly invoked to identify common threads of otherwise differentiated fields. If the task is not exhaustively executed, it is nonetheless a constructive and essential step toward developing, testing, and synthesizing mature theories of compliance.' Annals of the American Academy of Political Science

About the Series

RFF Policy and Governance Set

RFF research on policy includes the evaluation of command-and-control and incentive-based policy instruments, the comparative analyses of different regulatory strategies in a variety of settings, and the performance of alternative policy instruments like voluntary measures. The fourteen books in this collection range from theoretical works on the definition and governance of common property to applied studies on the enforcement of pollution control laws.

The RFF Library Collection brings back landmark books published by Resources for the Future throughout its nearly 60-year history as the pre-eminent research institution devoted exclusively to environmental issues. The Collection offers individuals and institutions the most classic and relevant literature across a range of environmental issues.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory