Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations


Compliance, International Law, WTO


This work tackles the question of the importance of design of international agreements on the compliance they elicit on all levels of the global trade regime. Discussing the international legal theories that underpin the different perspectives on this issue and scrutinizing case studies of both large and small treaties this thesis establishes the impact that elements of an agreement's structure have on its aggregate success. A case study of the GATT/WTO system illustrates the challenges of scale and diversity of trade issues while the study of the OILPOL and MARPOL environmental pollution regimes presents a lens on the practical implementation of an agreement and the evolution of compliance resulting from adjustments to such elements of its architecture as the monitoring components and enforcement mechanism. By analyzing different scales of the international trade system this work seeks to thread particular challenges and lessons that disappear or emerge as one moves from the large system with multiple state actors and significant monetary consequences to a smaller focus where the burden of compliance falls on individual ship captains and harbor inspectors. By investigating the relationship between the state and the individual in compliance matters this work aims to contribute to the scholarship on the optimal path of bringing on the ground realities to diplomatic negotiations. This study carries lessons for the crafting of future international agreements by pointing out areas of concentration that prove most crucial to inducing compliance and offers suggestions for a better method of effectively putting into practice the actual intent of the agreement.



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