chapter  13
Choosing to comply: theorizing from international relations and comparative politics
ByPeter M. Haas
Pages 25

How to understand compliance with soft law? In this chapter I discuss possible elements for a research program on understanding patterns of compliance with international soft law, focusing on manipulable variables which may influence individual states’ decisions to comply. It begins with conceptual discussions of compliance and soft law, followed by a review of perspectives from comparative politics and international relations regarding what makes individual states choose to comply with soft law instruments. The domestic and state-based account offers a baseline estimate of individual states’ propensity to comply with a particular instrument of soft law, in isolation of any other influences, but such an analysis is inadequate for most contemporary efforts because domestic influences do not operate in a vacuum; systemic and transnational factors now exercise a strong influence on the origin of many domestic factors and the political context in which they operate.