The greatest challenges of the 21st century are cross-national, including the environment, migration, epidemics, inequality, and financial corruption. As a result, it is critical to better understand the factors that enable and imperil international cooperation. The study of treaty exit will grant us additional purchase on why international law influences the behavior of some countries more than others and how design influences treaty durability. First, by shedding light on the effect of treaty design on exit, this project will help future policy makers consider exit risk when designing and negotiating agreements. Second, this research will help inform policy makers who are invested in global governance understand how concerned they should be about exit from international agreements. Finally, this research will help policy makers understand the conditions that lead to exit and the effects of exit.
Despite a wealth of literature on treaty commitment and compliance, we know very little about treaty exit. This project explores a missing stage in the treaty lifecycle, and illuminates differences in the strength of international law across states. To better understand historic patterns of treaty exit and the factors that contribute to them, this project leverages a combination of large-N analysis of treaty exits over the last hundred years, text-as-data supervised machine learning analysis of treaty design, and elite interviews. Cases include exits from the International Criminal Court, and from several International Labor Organization conventions that seek to protect women through restricting workplace participation, and the U.S. exits from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Paris Agreement. The resulting data will be useful to other researchers interested in international cooperation or in design differences across treaties or over time and may enable further research on the relationship between treaty design and effectiveness.
This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.