Cooperation and Conflict

http://cac.sagepub.com Just Scraps of Paper?: The Dynamics of Multilateral Treaty-Making
Robert A. Denemark and Matthew J. Hoffmann Cooperation and Conflict 2008; 43; 185 DOI: 10.1177/0010836708089082 The online version of this article can be found at: http://cac.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/43/2/185

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Just Scraps of Paper?
The Dynamics of Multilateral Treaty-Making ROBERT A. DENEMARK AND MATTHEW J. HOFFMANN
ABSTRACT
Despite its importance in the global system, the literature provides little guidance on how treaty-making emerged as a well-accepted practice. In either assuming the appropriateness of treaty-making (and then analysing design) or treating treaties as strategic choices in the pursuit of gains (without analysing how treaties came to be a way to pursue gains), the current literature discounts the emergence and evolution of treaty-making. This lacuna contributes to a biased view of treatymaking as the epiphenomenal result of specific, ahistorical factors, rather than as a patterned, historical practice. We contend that the evolution of the practice of treaty-making is significant for questions of design/compliance, the future of multilateral interaction and global order. In addressing this concern, we pursue two linked goals. The first is self-consciously descriptive. We introduce a dataset of multilateral treaties that provides a novel picture of treaty-making across time, space and issue-areas. The second goal is explanatory. We develop and test a social constructivist and path-dependent explanation for the patterns of treaty-making evident in the data, especially 150 years of exponential growth, the spread of treaty-making across multiple issues and the diffusion of the practice across the world.

Keywords: increasing returns; multilateral treaties and treaty-making;
path dependence; social constructivism

Introduction Early in the twentieth century, treaties were famously described as mere ‘scraps of paper’, and in the ensuing years treaties have been criticized as little more than traps set for naïve liberals by unscrupulous dictators (Beilenson, 1969). Even if treaties on the allegedly unimportant matters are sometimes adhered to, it is suggested that important matters cannot be left to the unreliable confines of pen and ink. Some have gone so far as to suggest that the entire idea of cooperative multilateral interaction is a chimera
Cooperation and Conflict: Journal of the Nordic International Studies Association Vol. 43(2): 185–219. © NISA 2008 www.nisanet.org SAGE Publications, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi and Singapore www.sagepublications.com 0010-8367. DOI: 10.1177/0010836708089082

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(Mearsheimer, 1994/5). These criticisms are popular, but unsupportable. Indeed, it is odd that the ‘scrap of paper’ critique survived, given the context in which it was made. Its author was German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, who believed he had managed relations with Great Britain sufficiently well to allow Germany’s 1914 invasion of Belgium to proceed despite the UK pledge to uphold Belgian neutrality. The British ambassador reported that upon hearing that the UK would live up to its agreement, the German Chancellor asked if war was to be waged: ‘… just for a word — “neutrality,” a word which in war time had so often been disregarded — just for a scrap of paper …’ (Horne, 1923: vol. 1, p. 406). The British honoured their agreement, and went to war against Germany. The Chancellor’s career entered a steep decline as a result. He was chased from office and Germany went on to suffer a costly and humiliating defeat. The British did not support Belgium because of a scrap of paper. They made an agreement to do so because that is what appeared to best serve British interests, and they wished this to be well and publicly understood. We contend that decisions to negotiate individual treaties are neither separate from other actor strategies in the global system, nor do they begin with a blank slate. Reus-Smit (1997: 558) asserts that ‘… contractual international law and multilateralism have become the dominant institutional practices governing modern international society’ and we argue that, over time, states have come to accept and internalize treaty-making as the appropriate foundation for both. Despite its important role in the global system, the literature provides little guidance on how treaty-making emerged as a well-accepted practice. From early interest in international law and formal organizations through the debates between realism and idealism, then neo-realism and neo-liberalism, onto the current discussions of institutional design and compliance, extant analyses of multilateral treaties tend to examine either the specific architecture of agreements to assess the factors that influence the probability of compliance and effectiveness, or the strategic use of treaties to attain relative or absolute gains (Grieco, 1990; Martin, 1993; Goldstein et al., 2000; Leeds et al., 2000; Pahre, 2001; Koremenos et al., 2001; Leeds, 2003; Mitchell, 2003). These foci are useful and have facilitated significant advances in our knowledge. They are incomplete, however. In either assuming the appropriateness of treaty-making (and then getting on with analysing design) or treating treaties as strategic choices in the pursuit of gains (without analysing how treaties came to be understood as a way to pursue gains), the current literature ignores the emergence and evolution of this practice. These studies contribute to a biased view of treaty-making as the epiphenomenal result of specific, ahistorical factors rather than as a patterned, historical behavioural practice. This leaves us unable to appreciate how this practice has evolved, how its evolution influences questions of design/compliance, how it might change in the future, and how it connects with larger questions of global order. To address this concern we pursue two linked goals. The first is selfconsciously descriptive. We introduce a dataset of multilateral treaties with which to consider the role that treaty-making has played in the global system.

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Multilateral treaties, broadly defined as those that have been signed by three or more actors, tend to represent areas in which there exists substantial agreement, and are more often available to the public. To discover what patterns of treaty-making might exist across time, space and issue-area, we created the Multilateral Agreement and Treaty Record Set (MATRS). The dataset includes 6976 multilateral treaties signed between 1595 and 1995. The MATRS dataset was constructed by consolidating information from several compendia of multilateral agreements and specialty lists, and contains data on the title, date of signature and two substantive categorizations (one broader and one more specific). For about 6000 treaties we also have information on signators and place of signing (see Appendix 1 for more information on the construction of the database). Our treatment of the multilateral treaties in the MATRS dataset differs from other orientations. The MATRS dataset is designed to facilitate research into the patterns of multilateral treaty-making. Treaties are considered here as discrete and observable instances of a given form of cooperation, as opposed to indicators of the status of agreements in specific issue-areas, or examples of specific elements of design. We recognize, of course, that not all treaties are of equal importance. The founding instruments of the United Nations play a very different role in global politics than the 1934 agreement unifying methods of analysing cheeses. But we are interested in the evolution of the practice of treaty-making and it is therefore crucial to understand both system-defining agreements and the day-today business of global affairs that are manifested through multilateral treaties. The global distribution of treaty-making, rather than the role or efficacy of individual treaties, is our analytical target.1 This systemic examination of treaty-making makes visible the entrenched-ness of the practice in a way that examining treaties individually or sectorally cannot. In brief, the descriptive enterprise finds that multilateral treaty-making has increased over time, and has been doing so systematically, and exponentially, from the 1850s until quite recently. The empirical pattern of treaty-making across time, space and issue-area confirms the sense of the literature that multilateral interaction has been increasing, but confounds much of what has been suggested about the reasons for this increase. Interdependence (as traditionally measured by trade volume) does not capture the treaty-making dynamic, nor is there a simple relation to the growth of the number of actors or the presence of a hegemon. Most surprisingly, multilateral treaty-making activity does not emerge as a response to crisis. Far from being crisis-driven, the consistent increase in treaty-making appears to be only temporarily crisis-interrupted. The second goal of this work is explanatory. The patterns that emerge in the first part of this work, especially the 150 years of exponential growth, appear to be most plausibly understood through the lens of social constructivism. Several additional patterns (transference across time and issue area, geographic spread, persistence of locations of treaty-signing and perhaps even the recent downturn in multilateral treaties) are also consistent with constructivist explanations.

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Patterns of Treaty-Making and Conventional Wisdom We begin with the broadest picture of multilateral treaty activity over the past 400 years. Figure 1 presents the number of multilateral treaties signed each year from 1595 to 1995, and immediately challenges traditional wisdom. Those who assume that multilateralism has increased over time are correct, yet the explosion of treaty-making in the past 150 years is quite dramatic. Exponential growth is notable for nearly the entire period, and not just following the Second World War, as is conventionally argued. Furthermore, while multilateralism as a mode of interaction might well have suffered political attacks from the 1980s, multilateral treaty signings peaked in the 1960s and, following a decline, levelled off in the 1980s and enjoyed a mild resurgence in the 1990s. Beyond challenging conventional wisdom about how much multilateral treaty-making there is and how it is distributed over time, Figure 1 also casts doubt on four common conjectures about multilateral treaty-making: that it should be related to crises, demographic shifts in the international system, alterations in (mainly economic) connectivity and hegemonic influence. First, there is no evidence that multilateral treaty-making is a crisisdriven activity or that as crises fade into historical memory our propensity to make treaties declines. Certainly, the two world wars were followed by increased treaty activity, but what is remarkable is how the post-war patterns return to the trajectories of the pre-war eras. Multilateral treatymaking does not appear crisis-driven so much as crisis-interrupted. Even with the slate wiped clean by the events of 1918 and 1945, and the opportunity to remake the international system, states returned to the practice and prior trajectory of multilateral treaty-making. Second, we might be concerned that the number of multilateral treaties would increase as the number of sovereign states rises. This relationship is not a certainty. It could be that states that are new to the system, especially the relatively small ones that emerged from decolonization from the 1950s to the 1970s, and again after 1989, would tend to join existing agreements or follow more powerful states into new agreements, as opposed to sponsoring their own. Assuming that additional states would nonetheless tend to increase the number of agreements, this might provide an explanation for some of the increase noted in Figure 1. Figure 2 casts doubt on the efficacy of using demographic shifts to explain treaty-making over time, showing that there is a complex relationship between the number of states in the system and the number of treaties signed. We may see a threshold effect or even an inversion, but the signing of multilateral treaties is no simple function of the addition of new actors to the global system. Bivariate regression results (Model 1 in Table 1) appear to support a more direct relationship, but when the post-war period is controlled for, as in Model 2 in Table 1, the relationship between the number of states in the system and treaties signed disappears.2 A third argument concerns the increase in treaty-making that might emerge from an increase in the interaction of nation-states. Assuming that treaties emerge at least in part from the discovery of collective problems,

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0 1596 1616 1781 1801

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FIGURE 1 Multilateral Treaties Signed Per Year 1596–1995

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FIGURE 2 Size of International Community and Treaty Signings

Note: Figure 2 provides data for this relationship from 1816 to 1995, the period within which we could obtain reliable data on the number of independent states in the international system on an annual basis. We obtained the data at: http://weber.ucsd.edu/~kgledits/statelist.html (accessed January 2006). See Gleditsch and Ward (1999).

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and the search for collection solutions, the more interdependent states become, the more incentives for treaty-making we might expect. Increasing trade, important both in its own right and as the most generally agreedupon surrogate measure of interdependence, does not appear to explain the rise of multilateral treaties. Figure 3 contrasts the growth of international trade with multilateral treaty signings over a period of 40 years that includes both increases and decreases in treaty behaviour. The figure casts doubt on the ability of (trade-based) interdependence to explain treatymaking patterns. Models 3, 4 and 5 of Table 1 also question the efficacy of explaining the growth of treaty-signing with traditional markers of interdependence. While trade is a significant variable in all three models, it has the wrong sign, indicating that increasing trade volume is correlated with a decrease in the number of treaties signed per year. There is no simple relationship between interdependence and treaty-making. Finally, those who portray multilateralism as a post-Second World War phenomenon driven by the hegemony of the US are at best only partially correct (Martin, 1993; Ruggie, 1993b; Ikenberry, 2001). While multilateral treatymaking surged in the 20 years following the Second World War, this is remarkable not for its novelty but rather for how it fits within a pattern of accelerating multilateral treaty-making that began a century prior. Figure 1 casts suspicion on any suggestion that the incidence of multilateral treaties ought to rise or decline with any given distribution of power. Treaty-making did not suffer with the decline of the British (circa 1885 to 1910), nor enjoy unusual increases with the rise of the US (circa 1945 to 1955).With the exception of the largest and most disruptive wars, treaty-making continues apace.3 This lack of apparent impact between hegemony and treaty-making is interesting given the prevalence of suggestions about such a link. Not all of the arguments are consistent. Dominant powers, especially those dedicated to representative forms of rule, are suggested to facilitate more agreements (Keohane, 1984; Ikenberry, 2001). Alternatively, such powers may eschew agreements given problems of group size and their lack of a need for collective support (Oye, 1986; Taylor, 1987). Or their decline might provide incentives for others to engage in increased cooperation (Krasner, 1982; Keohane, 1984; Hasencleaver, 1997). Certainly, as Ruggie (1993b) contends, ‘American hegemony’ was important, but the existence and promulgation of multilateral treaties from 1850 to 1945 appears to have had a profound effect on the manner in which the emergent US sought to order the global system.4 What the data force us to consider is that hegemony may affect multilateral treaty-making less than the acceptance of the practice of treaty-making influences hegemonic behaviour. In the case of hegemony and the establishment of a multilateral treaty system, the traditional causal arrow may have to be reversed (Jönsson and Hall, 2005). Explaining Multilateral Treaty-Making Much of what we have come to expect about multilateral treaty-making does not fit with how multilateral treaty signings are distributed through time.

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TABLE 1 Regression Results Model 2 (1815–1995) 14.7 0.04 (0.55) 69.3 (11.6)*** 0.75 179 0.03 ( 2.5)** 0.12 45 102.3 75 0.28 (1.1) Model 3 (1950–1995) Model 4 (1950–95) Model 5 (1950–95) 35.7

Parameters

Model 1 (1816–1995)

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Constant States Post-war Trade R2 N

23.1 0.72 (15.3)***

0.56 179

0.63 ( 1.94)* 0.14 45

0.16 ( 2.2)** 0.10 45

The dependent variable for Models 1–4 is the number of treaties signed per year. For Model 5 the dependent variable is the number of trade and economics related treaties signed per year. The independent variables are operationalized as follows: States number of states in the international system in each year; Post-war Dichotomous dummy variable (1 1945–1995; 0 1816–1945); Trade World export/import volume measured as a percent of 1995 trade. (*p 0.1; ** p 0.05; *** p 0.001)

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Total Multilateral Treaties W+M*

FIGURE 3 Multilateral Treaties and Export Levels

*Exports (total world merchandise export volume) are measured as a percentage of 1995 levels. The source data are drawn from the World Trade Organization at: http://www.wto.org/English/res_e/statis_e/its2004_e/its04_appendix_e.htm (accessed January 2006).

Number of Multilateral Treaties Signed

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When assessing conjectures empirically, we note that extant understandings of treaty-making cannot account for the most striking feature of Figure 1, the century-long exponential increase. One explanation for this failure is that most aspects of conventional wisdom about multilateral treaties assume they are essentially reactive. They assume that multilateral treaty-making responds to politics. ‘Politics as usual’ is not multilateral. Something happens (i.e. crisis, change in connectivity, hegemonic transition, demographic shift) and we suddenly need multilateral treaties. These data suggest a radically different conception. ‘Politics as usual’ is multilateral, as it has come to include the practice of multilateral treaty-making. Multilateral treaty-making has a long-term historical dynamic with which other forces must contend. We posit that once multilateral treaty-making emerges as an accepted practice, increasing returns to this activity alter expectations and behaviours. The increasing returns are both material (in that states engaging in multilateral treaty-making are successful even if the organizational form is not necessarily optimal) and ideational (in that states come to see multilateral treaty-making as appropriate), and these returns enhance the attractiveness of future multilateral treaty-making. This dynamic leads to the spread of multilateral treaty-making geographically and across issue areas. The result is that treaty-making begets treaty-making, leading to exponential growth. Multilateral treaties are not mere ‘scraps of paper’ because states have internalized this means of interaction (Jönsson and Hall, 2005). In the following sections we elaborate on this proposed explanation for the exponential rise in treaty-making and provide initial tests of it with treaty data. We first explore the notion of social construction through path dependence and increasing returns, detailing the mechanisms that could explain exponential growth. We then examine the plausibility of this explanation by reviewing key literature on multilateralism and multilateral treaties. Finally, we interrogate our explanation empirically with the MATRS dataset. Constructivism, Path Dependence and Multilateral Treaties The central notion of social constructivism is that actors and their social contexts are mutually constitutive. The behaviours of actors help create their social context (rules, meanings, institutions), that social context shapes actor identities, perceptions and wants, which are then translated into subsequent behaviours. We posit that the accelerating adoption of multilateral treaties as a mode of international cooperation in the early to mid-nineteenth century altered the global social context. Multilateral treaty-making was introduced as a way to deal with a growing set of transnational issues. Increasing use of this instrument reinforced its appropriateness and states began to orient their domestic structures, behaviour and expectations to this practice. Multilateral treaty-making became the accepted way to deal with transnational issues, and came to constitute how states conceived of appropriate interactions. This broad understanding is incomplete. It fails to provide insight into why and how states might come to conceive of multilateral treaty-making

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as appropriate, and thus how and why it came to be a popular response to transnational issues. We argue that the relevant mechanism of social construction was path dependence through increasing returns. Path dependence arises when a confluence of actions, intended or not, provides a given mechanism with the advantage of being considered ‘best practice’.5 Once a ‘best practice’ emerges, this advantages one mechanism at the cost of others, some of which might even be technically superior.6 The dynamics of path dependence naturally complement social constructivist ideas about mutual constitution. Many path dependency arguments rely on rational choice to drive the processes by which practices are adopted or locked-in around an institution, but rational cost-benefit calculation is not the only mechanism that leads to path dependence. At its core, path dependence is a probability mechanism whereby the chance of future use of a technology or institution increases every time it is used in the present (North, 1990; Arthur, 1994; Thelen, 2000; Couch and Farrell, 2004; Boas, 2007). While utilitarian considerations can drive the ‘self-reinforcing sequences’ inherent in path-dependent processes, an institution can also exhibit path dependency when ‘an initial precedent about what is appropriate forms a basis for making future decisions about what is appropriate’ (Mahoney, 2000: 523). There is thus no reason that the self-reinforcing mechanisms of path dependence cannot work within the logic of appropriateness highlighted by constructivists or through some hybrid that considers both costs and ideas of appropriateness in reinforcing a practice like multilateral treaty-making. Social constructivism recognizes the limits of flexibility in social life. While behaviours shape social context, the historical accumulation of behaviours serves to reify/alter structures, putting history on a certain path, closing off some avenues and opening others. Path dependence is a crucial mechanism of social construction. With regard to multilateral treaties, we agree with Reus-Smit’s (1997: 569) claim that:
It matters little whether, in an abstract rational sense, arbitration or multilateralism constitute a more efficient response to coordination and collaboration problems; what matters is that at particular historical moments states have deemed them the right responses.

Once multilateral treaty-making was deemed the right response in the late nineteenth century, a certain path was chosen. Increasing returns to this institution solidified the choice and the practice moved, in the parlance of normative dynamics, from emergence to internalization (Finnemore and Sikkink, 1998). Once chosen, continued use of a given practice alters expectations such that it eventually achieves the enviable state of being simply taken for granted. The increasing returns that drive path dependence are expected in systems exhibiting four characteristics (Pierson, 2000). First, start-up costs and the costs of switching institutions are high. It is expensive or difficult to establish institutions in the system, or to change them once established. Second, learning effects are significant. There are steep learning curves

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allowing for higher returns with continued use of existing institutions. Third, coordination effects are significant. Benefits from the use of an institution or practice increase as more actors adopt the same mechanisms. Fourth, adaptive expectations dominate actor calculations. In this sense, ‘projections about future aggregate use patterns lead individuals to adapt their actions in ways that help make those expectations come true’ (Pierson, 2000: 254). Our claim is that the practice of multilateral treatymaking that emerged significantly in the nineteenth century exhibits these characteristics and can fruitfully be analysed through the lens of increasing returns with a combination of what Mahoney (2000) calls legitimation and functional processes of self-reinforcement whereby the efficacy and appropriateness of an institutional choice is reinforced over time. Combining notions of social construction with path dependence through increasing returns presents a unique mechanism for understanding the persistence and evolution of global practices. In addition, such an analytic framework can bring ideational and material factors into a single mechanism, a type of explanation for which both constructivist and rationalist scholars have been calling. Very simply, multilateral treaties emerge in the 1850s as a potentially dominant practice for a series of material and ideational reasons. The emergence and early success of multilateral treatymaking alters the social context and states respond with changes in their expectations about international interactions. The new expectations make further treaty-making more likely, reinforcing these early actions and reifying the appropriateness and utility of multilateral treaty-making. Eventually, this positive feedback lends multilateral treaty-making a taken-for-granted quality across large swaths of the global system. In the sections that follow we examine this argument in greater detail and challenge it with MATRS data. Emergence of Multilateral Treaty-Making Treaties, multilateral and otherwise, have been in use for millennia (Beckman, 1996; Cohen and Westbrook, 2000). Multilateral treaty-making exploded in the latter half of the nineteenth century and grew exponentially through the 1960s. The puzzle we address is why this form of global interaction flowered at this time, and with this pattern. The growth and dominance of multilateral treaty-making as a solution to the problems generated by transnational interactions began with a specific confluence of changes in the material environment, ideational context and distribution of power resources of the global system. Regarding the material context, Murphy (1994) claims that the emergence of multilateral practice is inextricably tied to the development of the global capitalist system. As capitalist industry outgrows the physical boundaries of the nineteenth and early twentieth century state, capitalist interests express a preference for republican forms of government where they might have a chance to counteract both the power of entrenched privilege and the policies of sovereigns bent on territorial aggrandizement rather than prosperity.

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What results is an ideology of liberal internationalism, supported by a coalition of social forces and devoted to the creation of international institutions, that might facilitate peaceful interaction, further integration and the resulting prosperity. Far from the blind choice of simple and immediate pecuniary interests, this system offers us a variety of institutions with which to overcome different short, medium and longer-term barriers to profitable interactions. Those practices that garner sufficient backing, generating sufficient resources to attract viable support, are ‘selected’ in the evolution of global organization. Successful organizational forms then mould behaviour by shaping the understandings and motivations that confront actors. What Murphy seeks to understand are not multilateral treaties but the great conferences that led to the development of various public unions in the last half of the nineteenth and the earliest years of the twentieth centuries. Some 105 multipurpose conferences gave birth to over 30 world organizations designed to foster industry, manage social conflict and strengthen states, societies and the state system. The great conferences had several advantages, being easy to call, efficient in the breadth of their coverage and popular with both political elites and a wide range of technical and bureaucratic professionals. They also had advantages relative to treaties, Murphy argues, because they allowed for the exposition of a problem, its consideration by experts and the development of agreements without the need to submit to a formal process of ratification. Though Murphy considers conferences and public unions the more important form of multilateralism in the early period, his explanation of the forces that led to the emergence of multilateral practice in the 1850s is entirely relevant for our purposes. Reus-Smit (1997, 1999) provides a primarily ideational counterpoint to Murphy’s material analysis, explaining the emergence of multilateral practices and contractual international law (especially permanent universal conferences and international judiciaries, which are analogues to domestic legislatures and courts), by referring to two deep constitutional structures: the moral purpose of the state and norms of procedural justice. Reus-Smit, like Murphy, finds the origins of multilateralism in the nineteenth century, but rather than looking to the needs of capital, he focuses on ideational changes. In particular, he claims that the ideological revolution in the late eighteenth century changed how people and politics were considered. He does not ignore the material context, and claims that ideational shifts, combined with the industrial revolution, ‘profoundly altered the nature and terms of intraterritorial governance, generating distinctively modern standards of legitimate statehood and rightful state action’. After the shift, the ‘moral purpose of the state’ became ‘increasingly identified with augmenting individuals’ purposes and potentialities’ generating ‘a new legislative norm of procedural justice’ (1997: 577). Changes toward ‘reciprocally binding social rules’ and ‘legislative norms of justice’ filtered outward to the international sphere. The domestic values of dominant states diffused, and ‘the principle that social rules should be authored by those subject to them’ … ‘came to license multilateral forms of rule determination …’ (ibid., pp. 568, 578). Such an expansion of domestic

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norms into the global sphere was the catalyst for the multilateral order as evidenced by the initiation of universal conferences, the proliferation of treaties, and the formation of international courts. Keene (2007) observes a similar ideational shift in the dominant legal discourses of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that also facilitated increasing use of international legal mechanisms. The hallmarks of the multilateral practice that Reus-Smit analyses are the most crucial multilateral agreements that set the parameters of international law and its adjudication. He (1997, 1999) provides an in-depth analysis of The Hague Conferences of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 and the founding conference for the United Nations. In tying the emergence of multilateralism to ideational concerns, Reus-Smit provides additional elements to Murphy’s primarily material account and significant evidence for the existence of a multilateral order that extends beyond the temporal boundaries of material incentives. He claims that the norms of procedural justice that flow from ‘the moral purpose of the state’ constrained institutional choices by shaping both cognitive horizons and the range of legitimate actions. In the modern case, legislative norms led the international community (or at least the dominant states within it) to advance multilateral forms of interaction. Ikenberry (2001) reminds us that powerful actors have a significant role to play in the emergence of multilateral treaty-making as a potentially dominant practice, and his account of its emergence diverges sharply from both Reus-Smit and Murphy. For Ikenberry, multilateral order, or ‘constitutional order’ as he describes it, is a potential solution for the problem that hegemons face at the end of major wars: how to institutionalize their advantages. He (2001: 4) argues: ‘Major postwar junctures are rare strategic moments when leading or hegemonic states face choices about how to use their newly acquired power.’ A constitutional order is one of the choices, and it has significant advantages in that it allows the new hegemon to show restraint and cope with the mistrust that accompanies asymmetric power. By institutionally binding itself into a multilateral order, the hegemon is able to achieve ‘buyin’ by smaller powers and institutionalize a durable, advantageous international order. Different hegemons may institute different post-war orders, and Ikenberry attributes the choice to the extent of power disparities and fidelity to democracy (the more unilateral, the more readily a hegemon can cement its preferred order, while more democratic hegemons can more readily lock-in a constitutional order). While Ikenberry sees ‘hegemonic establishment of constitutional orders’ and we observe a relatively unbroken dynamic of interaction through multilateral treaty-making, his reminder of the role of material power in reinforcing multilateralism is well-taken. The emergence in the 1850s of multilateral treaty-making as a potentially dominant practice resulted from a confluence of material, ideational and distribution of power factors. Industrialization altered the needs of powerful actors, providing a drive toward cooperative international interaction at the same time that a new set of values favouring legislative justice and

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reciprocity within dominant states was being externalized into the international community. These forces combined to build powerful momentum behind the practice of multilateral treaty-making. Acceptance and Spread of Multilateral Treaty-Making What we see in the mid to late nineteenth century is the critical juncture that Mahoney (2000: 513) urges those pursuing path-dependent arguments to seek. A number of contingent forces led to the emergence of multiple multilateral institutional possibilities — most notably public unions, multilateral conferences, systems of arbitration and multilateral treaty-making.7 What we observe in subsequent decades is the growing dominance of multilateral treaty-making as the increasing returns to this institutional practice reinforce its legitimacy and generate positive feedback. States orient themselves toward making multilateral treaties, altering their organizational structures and shifting domestic resources. Their actions reify the appropriateness of multilateral treaty-making and the practice spreads over time, across space and to varied issues. The secondary literature on multilateral treaty-making confirms the plausibility of the social construction through the increasing returns argument. The hallmarks of increasing returns — high start-up and switching costs, learning effects, coordination effects and adaptive expectations — are evident in observers’ accounts of the multilateral treaty system. A brief discussion of each characteristic of increasing returns reveals how multilateral treaty-making spread and came to be a dominant institutional feature of world politics. Both the start-up and switching costs of cooperation via multilateral treaty are high. Murphy (1994) notes that it was only under the extreme pressure applied by those defining the new economic system (both its dominant figures and popular sectors) that sovereigns altered their tendency to seek aggrandizement through territorial conquest and moved toward a system that facilitated increased wealth.This required extensive and carefully crafted cooperative agreements. The social movements that emerged behind these changes were costly to establish and difficult to decommission. Ikenberry (2001) makes similar claims about the establishment of constitutional orders and highlights the ‘stickiness’ of a system founded on multilateral treaties and organizations. In addition, as multilateral treaty-making grew in legitimacy, the costs of switching to a different interaction mechanism grow as well. Once multilateral interactions became more frequent, it grew difficult to alter the form or nature of that behaviour. Conferences may have had significant advantages, but the agreements that emerged and lasted the longest were those posed as contracts negotiated by experts, ratified by legislatures and/or signed by sovereigns. Eventually the need to expand and update cooperative agreements increased beyond the ability, willingness or necessity of leaders and their vast entourages to travel. Once this happened, it was difficult to even conceive of an alternative form for the updating and further codification of binding agreements. These first movements changed

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the cost of future choices. Adopted early on, it would have been quite difficult to prospect for, prove the value of and convince others to adopt different norms. Norm-destroying wars of the sort that gave birth to modern Europe after 1815 were few in number, and even before 1918 the tendency was to settle them with the same mechanisms (conferences and treaties) that had come to dominate international relations in the century prior. Learning effects emerge quickly in the cooperative environment of conferences and multilateral treaty-making. Not only are sovereigns satisfied with what they have created, but also we see the almost immediate growth of an international civil service staffed by what Murphy (1994) calls ‘public systems builders’ with generic skill sets. Additional officials and bureaucracies emerge to cope with the new activities. Specialists, and the agreements they negotiate, eventually eclipse the conferences themselves. What is generally observed is the emergence of a stratum of experts coevolving with the practice of multilateral treaty-making. As these public system builders become more expert in the handling of a given issue area at a conference or in the drafting of a treaty, expertise and cosmopolitan experience become associated with the ability to navigate the great conferences and create or service the important treaties that emerged. Murphy (1994) traces this process through the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. Sacriste and Vauchez (2007) illuminate how a heterogeneous population of international lawyers came to define international law and alter the orientation of states towards international law and treaty-making in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Finnemore (2003) observed similar dynamics in the politics of military intervention, where the disciplinary growth of international lawyers led to a reinforcement of ideas about the rule of law in the international system. Ikenberry (2001: 66) records the same kind of support for the constitutional order, noting that:
[I]nstitutions are not just agreements, they are also interstate processes that require state officials to engage in ongoing interaction with other states. This requires state bureaucracies be organized in particular ways — with mandates, missions and routines.

This trend tracks nicely with how Boli and Thomas (1999) and Barnett and Finnemore (2004) describe a longer-term trend toward the acceptance of rational-legal norms. Indeed, what emerges around the institution of multilateral treaty-making is what Adler (2005) describes as a ‘community of practice’. States and their agents come to expect multilateral interaction and are geared toward multilateral treaty-making. In this way, multilateral treaty-making structures state practices and is in turn the result of those practices. The end result of learning effects is that multilateral treaty-making gains its own momentum as participation comes to be understood and advocated by state functionaries as the composition of acceptable practice. Other communities of experts follow suit. Murphy (1994: 112) notes that once great powers began to interact in characteristic ways, ‘Governments and private associations regularized their own work to match …’ Experts in solving the

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problems of the state were defined as experts in dealing with conferences and treaty-making. The reorientation of states toward multilateral treaty-making has effects beyond altering the costs of institutional change. As more and more states begin to engage in the same sorts of endeavours, there are growing advantages and a growing sense of appropriateness attributed to engaging in more and more multilateral treaty-making, both into new issues-areas and in the engagement of new actors. As these coordination effects emerge, states adapt their practices so as to be able to participate in global life. Multilateral interaction came to be perceived as the key to advancement, given the needs of the new industrial markets that Murphy identifies. The exact form of that interaction was not as important as was its existence. Any organizational form that offered access and generated results would have been seen as superior to lack of access to the growing global system. And, once adopted, whatever advantages multilateral treaties possessed, their continued and expanded use by actors in the system would significantly magnify. This is not to suggest that multilateral treaty-making was a wholly arbitrary formulation that could provide no more real advantage than any other conceivable system. The co-evolution of industrial markets and sovereign states posed no small difficulty, but emerged as the dominant political form given the benefits the two systems offered one another (Chase-Dunn, 1981). The treaty system, which recognized the sovereignty of the actors involved and facilitated cooperative interaction, was well suited to this context. Given the material returns that states (and individuals and capitalists) were receiving, and the ease with which this cooperation gained acceptance with leaders so jealous of their sovereignty, the incentive to coordinate with the dominant treaty-making system was maximized. The final attributes of the process of increasing returns are adaptive expectations. Like learning effects, not only do new actors attempt to coordinate with the new ‘realities’ of the system, but also actors come to expect that this will be both the current and future norm in international relations. Individuals, states and organizations came to expect multilateral activities and adjust their strategizing and actions to fit this expectation (Jönsson and Hall, 2005). When states come to expect multilateral treatymaking, this changes not only how they view interstate interactions, but also how they view the global system in general. The multilateral treaty-making lens helps them to define transnational problems, in some sense creating or constituting these problems themselves. The result of these material, ideational and institutional features is uniformly positive feedback. Issues came to be viewed in terms of their ability to be handled with some form of treaty. As states sought to deal with them, treaties were not surprisingly the tools used. Other states adapted, populations adapted and the future was defined in terms of the application of more treaties to more issues. Material, ideational and institutional factors served to reinforce the place of multilateral forms of interaction in the global system, and an exponential rise in multilateral treaties was the result.

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Interrogating Social Construction through Path Dependence Path dependence through increasing returns is a novel way to explain the process of social construction — how an emergent practice comes to be taken for granted and becomes a regular feature of the global social context — and it plausibly captures the observed exponential rise in treaty-making. It is novel because it both contains a specified mechanism that provides testable implications and because it allows for the integration of ideational and material factors that should be evident in a constructivist explanation. The social construction/path dependence/increasing returns approach also provides a number of additional conjectures about multilateral treaty-making that can be explored with the MATRS dataset. In this section, we suggest three non-obvious and verifiable indicators of this explanation. These include the diffusion of treaty-making across issueareas, across geo-political contexts, and the continued importance of initial locations/procedures. The relatively recent peaking and apparent decline of treaty-making over the past 30 years may also emerge from our argument. In each case, one or more of the four elements of path dependence (high start-up and switching costs, learning effects, coordination effects and adaptive expectations) are implicated. Our large-n examination of hypotheses about treaty-making departs from traditional constructivist empirical analyses that call upon rich historical description. This methodological move is necessary precisely because the appropriateness of treaty-making is so ingrained that the forces shaping the choice of this instrument in any particular instance are invisible. Once a practice is so well ingrained that it is taken for granted, it becomes difficult to apprehend empirically if analysis is restricted to individual treaties or even sectoral treaty-making. Historical accounts and recollections are inevitably concerned with the particulars of constructing agreements to address the issues at hand and lend little insight into the influence of larger patterns of practice. With a broader view of treaty-making practices, pathdependent processes become more visible. Diffusion across Issues — Switching Costs and Waves of Treaty-Making One hallmark of the constructivist explanation is that practices come to be taken for granted. For a number of ideational (framing how actors conceive their world) and material (distributing the resources that actors use to respond to their world) reasons, multilateral treaty-making becomes a lens through which actors look upon and define transnational problems and issues. If the argument is correct, we should observe the diffusion of multilateral treaty-making practices to different transnational issue areas as they arise over time. Disaggregating the treaty data into specific categories reveals waves of treaty-making, just as the constructivist explanation would predict. Consider the composite Figure 4. What we see is the exponential pattern repeated in five of the six major substantive treaty categories with different dates of initiation and peaking. As the international community

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FIGURE 4 Multilateral Treaty-Making across Issue-Areas

This figure presents the number of treaties signed in each of 6 issue areas, ordered from earlier exponential take-off and peak to later, along with the exponential trend line (except for War and Peace). Please contact the authors for a breakdown of treaty titles included in each graph.

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confronted issues, it turned to multilateral treaty-making as the means for addressing them over and over again.8 These waves produce the overall exponential curve and they are evidence that the international community identifies multilateral treaty-making as the mechanism for dealing with global issues. Furthermore, the figures support the argument that start-up/switching costs inherent in systems with increasing returns constrain institutional choices. When confronted with a new transnational issue, state leaders are not likely to spend time thinking about new forms of interaction with which to address the problem. Conceiving a new form of interaction to address each transnational issue-area as it arises would be inherently inefficient. There are also costs involved in switching to a new and untried institutional form.9 The high cost of switching engenders a taken-for-granted quality such that state leaders do not actively weigh the costs of continuing with a given form of interaction. Thus, once certain forms of interaction emerge and begin to lock-in, states continue to use these tools to approach problems in new issue-areas. An extreme, though telling, example of how diffusion arises from pathdependent lock-in is the fact that multilateral treaty-making migrated so easily to issues of space exploration in the latter half of the twentieth century. In this entirely new environment, one where the prerogatives of sovereignty and international cooperation are ambiguous at best, multilateral treaty-making is a standard way for states to interact. In the late 1980s, March (1988: 328) noted that ‘for over two decades, multilateral treaties have governed the spaceborne activities of nations in a variety of situations’. Prasad’s (2005) report on international efforts to deal with space debris further demonstrates that multilateral treaty-making structures how states deal with issues of ambiguous transnational character. The possibilities for dealing with space debris appear to be bounded by amending existing treaties or creating new ones (Prasad, 2005: 247). Diffusion across Space — Learning/Coordination Effects and Socializing New Members Demonstrating that multilateral treaty-making has migrated to most, if not all, transnational issues is one hallmark of the effects of increasing returns. Another is the diffusion of this practice from the community that adopted it in the modern era (the West) to the remainder of the international system. If there are increasing returns to multilateral treaty-making, not only should existing states use it, but those that newly emerge should adopt (or be made to adopt) the practice as well. Increasing returns facilitate the socialization of new actors. The treaty data demonstrate this effect. In Figure 5 we observe the spread of the locus of treaty-signing beyond the West with the decolonization movements of the 1950s and 1960s. As new states join the international community, even when their independence was bitterly contested, they still chose to adopt multilateral treaty-making in patterns similar to those of the more established members. Not only did

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these states start signing treaties devised in the West, they began to negotiate treaties on their own and host the negotiations and signings.10 There were serious concerns in much of the Third World about Western imperialism and neo-colonialism, but this did not appear to impact on the adoption of (typically Western) multilateral treaty-making as a generic form of interaction. In a report on how recently independent states viewed the instruments of international law, Abi-Saab (1962: 100) pointed out that such states ‘do not easily forget that the same body of international law that they are now asked to abide by, sanctioned their previous subjugation and exploitation’. Even so, these states readily accepted treaty-making as a means of interaction with the global community (Abi-Saab, 1962; Sinha, 1965; Akintoba, 1996). International law and multilateral treaty-making served a purpose for newly independent states because they define what it is to act like a state. As Akintoba (1996: 21) notes ‘this need to communicate and trade invariably makes necessary resort to the system of law originally created by Western states for regulating interstate relations’. This adoption or socialization demonstrates either learning effects or coordination effects, depending on one’s perspective on the autonomy of non-Western states. If one takes seriously the de jure sovereignty of states in the periphery, and considers them to be autonomous actors with independent initiative, then Figure 5 demonstrates the learning effects of increasing returns. As states enter the international community, they find a system of international interaction in place with its experts, diplomats and the other technologies of multilateralism. States adopt this practice as part of the process of becoming ‘modern’ (Finnemore, 1996). On the other hand, if one questions the autonomy of peripheral states, focusing on the lack of de facto sovereignty in some areas, coordination effects appear to be driving this extension of multilateral treaty-making. This interpretation recalls that increasing returns are evident when benefits from a given practice increase to the extent that more participants adopt them. From this perspective, it is in the interests of the West to incorporate emerging actors into the extant multilateral order. Of course, both perspectives are likely implicated in explaining Figure 5. States outside the West have had varying levels of autonomy and thus varying abilities to ‘choose’. In either case, our argument anticipates the spread of multilateral treatymaking evident in Figure 5. Stability in Centrality — The Continued Importance of Initial Locations/Procedures While evidence for increasing returns is found in the diffusion of treaty-making, additional support is revealed in the stability of the organizational form. It is not only the functional form that gets taken for granted; the procedures for operationalizing the practice are also internalized. Thus, we expect and observe remarkable stability in the multilateral treaty system, here viewed in terms of where treaties are negotiated and signed. While multilateral treaty-making has

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diffused around the globe, the sites where most of the treaty-making takes place have altered only slightly. Figure 6 presents data on the top five locations for treaty-making (where the most treaties are signed) in six different periods of global politics.The identities of the top locations for multilateral activity remain notably consistent over 400 years. This geographical consistence demonstrates the functioning of adaptive expectations. Not only do states adapt their actions to fit the expectation of multilateral treaty-making, but they also adopt specific expectations of where treaty-making will take place. Table 2 reinforces this finding by further illustrating the continuity. Thirty cities could conceivably fill our six different ‘top five’ lists. We find only fifteen. Eight of those fifteen appear only once, and seven of those eight appear only during the two short wartime periods. This leaves a list of only seven cities that serve as the top treatysigning locations over a period of four centuries. Going a step further in collaboration with geographer Herman van der Wusten, we analysed the development and persistence of urban specialization in treaty negotiations. As early as the period from 1782 to 1849, we note the focus of ‘Vienna in state relations…. London in others’. Although some specializations emerge by issue-area, like Berne in the area of communication treaties, ‘those places that lack any specialization receive conferences concerned with a wide variety of issues’ like London, Paris and Brussels (van der Wusten et al., 2007). Once a particular location becomes an established site of multilateral activity, this alters the way actors view appropriate places to negotiate. These adaptive expectations are driven by a number of factors, including learning and coordination effects. The cities in the top five thus remain pre-eminent centres for treaty-making for long stretches of time, beyond any rationale they may have had for being an early primary location for negotiations in the first place. Establishing Plausibility The initial plausibility of our social constructivist/path dependence/increasing returns argument was founded on its ability to explain the exponential rise in multilateral treaty-making over the long term, the conjecture being that treaty-making came to beget treaty-making. The test of this conjecture consisted of empirically assessing a number of expectations that flow from it, namely that if increasing returns are in place we should see a spread of treaty-making across issues and actors, while also reinforcing the initial conditions (viewed here as the matter of where treaty-making originally took hold) of the multilateral system. All three of these expectations are borne out by the MATRS data. We conclude that the practice of multilateral treaty-making has emerged, grown and evolved through a process of social construction by increasing returns — a process that is independent of the content of individual treaties, that is resilient to change in the distribution of power, and that shapes (rather than responds to) changes in the socioeconomic characteristics of the global community.

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t ue on na ris urg aris gue don sels ton don vsk res vre olm eva aris don ton gue don deo ton rlin cow eva sels aris don nna a n h ag nd ien Pa rsb e a P on P Ha on us ing on P on ing Ha on evi ing Be os en us ito H Lo V Vi L L B r sh L t-L uch e H tock Ge L sh e L nt h e G Br M e e L S et s o a a Th as B P Th Th re M W W W . B St

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City of Signature

FIGURE 6 Top Five Places for Signing Multilateral Treaties

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TABLE 2 Top Places for Treaty-Making Place of Signature London Paris The Hague Washington Vienna Brussels Geneva St. Petersburg Montevideo Moscow Berlin Stockholm Bucharest Le Havre Brest-Litovsk Number of Eras in Top 5 6 4 3 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

The Future of Multilateral Treaties In Figure 1, multilateral treaty-making grows exponentially from the 1850s through the 1960s, peaks and declines. The decline predates the current preoccupation with the erosion of multilateral norms and institutions and provides some perspective on the current anxiety. This raises the question of why a socially constructed, path-dependent process that enjoys increasing returns should evidence decline. There are three possible conjectures that appear from within the context of our research that would help us understand this apparent anomaly and shed light on current concerns about the fate of multilateralism. First, this decline may be an artifact of the data. Treaties may take as long as a decade to make it into the official record, and some may not be entered at all. Linguistic and geographic biases are more prevalent in the sources we used in the later years than earlier on. The resurgence of the Cold War in the 1980s may have been a crisis large enough to interrupt the series, and new data for the last decade, once gathered, may reveal a continuation of the exponential pattern. A second conjecture would find multilateral treaty-making in real decline. Perhaps there are forces at work that are making the turn to this practice less automatic and states are escaping from the path (Couch and Farrell, 2004). These could consist of the familiar arguments about hegemonic unilateralism, or the intriguing possibility that the forces of globalization are making states less central relative to private regulatory regimes that manifest structures with historically different modes of interaction (Hall and Biersteker, 2002; Haufler, 2003).

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Finally, a growth in treaty signings by international organizations may be signalling another evolution in this multilateral practice. Ruggie (1993b: 9) argues that the ‘adaptive and reproductive capacities’ of multilateral forms are key to their effectiveness and persistence. Figure 7 provides evidence for this adaptiveness, demonstrating the growing number of non-state signatures on multilateral treaties. At first glance, the increase in treaties signed by (and among!) international organizations serves to support our argument, just as the adoption of treaty-making by peripheral states did. But as international organizations grow more autonomous it is possible that they, rather than treaties, will become the locus of multilateral diplomacy. Murphy described a similar transition in global processes during the second half of the nineteenth century. Barnett and Finnemore’s (2004) recent work on the autonomy of international organizations is suggestive along these lines. Adding treaty data beyond 1995, an ongoing project, will enable us to begin to adjudicate these various possibilities. Conclusion Treaties have long been a staple of global interaction, and this has been even truer for the last century and one half. Their exponential increase since 1850 has been interrupted, but not generated, by global crises. The exponential increase cannot be attributed to the growing number of actors, interdependence or hegemony. A plausible explanation rests with constructivism/path dependence/increasing returns. Such an explanation is consistent with major material, ideational and power distribution treatments of international organization and cooperation. The constructivist explanation is supported empirically by the replication of patterns across issue-areas, across political and geographic contexts, and in terms of the uncanny consistency with which certain cities serve as the locus of treaty signings. These insights differ from those that could be generated by more traditional, small-n, treatments of treaty-making. Substantive concerns regarding particular issue areas and the effects of different designs provide important information, but do not speak to the overarching role of treaty-making in the global system as does this project. From this perspective, treaties are more prevalent, and their exponential growth through the 1960s and 1970s suggests a far more important role for cooperative interaction in the evolution of international relations than other perspectives can offer. Specifically, the results of this study provoke us to consider the connections between the practice of multilateral treaty-making and the broader norms of multilateralism. Ruggie (1993b: 7) argues that the generic multilateral form entails more than arrangements of three or more states and includes the generalized principles of indivisibility (participants see themselves as a unit), and diffuse reciprocity (participants expect roughly equivalent benefits over time). Multilateralism is thus more than a quantitative description; it has to do with the quality of an institutional arrangement (ibid., pp. 7–12). Individual treaties can be signed for a number of reasons. It would be folly to suggest that all treaties are consistent with the principles

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FIGURE 7 Non-State Treaty Signators. Number of International Organization Signators of Multilateral Treaties in Each Year

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of indivisibility and diffuse reciprocity. Some treaties (especially alliances) are discriminatory and others do little to promote reciprocity. But multilateral treaties are also consistently employed to serve the purpose that Ruggie defines for multilateralism, namely to ‘define and stabilize international property rights of states, to manage coordination problems, and to resolve collaboration problems’ (ibid., p. 8). While there is not an exact match between multilateral treaties and multilateralism, studying multilateral treaty-signing dynamics may have much to offer us in studying the dynamics of multilateralism. It may contribute to our understanding of where the global order has been and where it is going. If the dynamics of multilateral treaty-making track the dynamics of multilateral norms and institutions more broadly, we observe a profoundly multilateral world in the MATRS data. Both banal and weighty matters are addressed through multilateral treaty-making, whose role has expanded and evolved over time. Sustained understanding of the global system may depend on treating multilateral treaty-making and multilateralism as constitutive elements of the global system and on seeking to understand the path-dependent treaty-making dynamics that continue to unfold. Notes
We acknowledge the research assistance of April Collins, Charlotte Freeman, Tom Isherwood, Markus Lang, Lauren Twist, Stephen Walls and, especially, Hasan Yonten. We also thank Mark Boyer, Yale Ferguson, Robert Johansen, Stuart Kaufman, Phil Triadafilopolous and the three anonymous reviewers from Cooperation and Conflict for insightful comments on previous versions — all remain blameless for inadequacies that remain. This research was supported by the Center for International Studies and the Undergraduate Research Program at the University of Delaware. 1. We, of course, realize that signing treaties is only one dimension of the treatymaking process; ratification, duration and compliance being other crucial dimensions. However, treaty-signing is a significant endeavour and tracking the signing of treaties over time provides an illuminating if less than complete picture of the treatymaking practice. 2. The bulk of any linear relationship between the number of states and treaty signings is actually an artifact of the post-1945 period, while the exponential expansion of treaty-making begins well before 1945. 3. The suggestion that treaties of special importance emerge during periods of hegemony is not supported by the preliminary data, and will be the focus of forthcoming work. 4. This is contraposed to the literature that finds modern multilateralism resulting from an externalization of United States’ domestic preferences. See Martin, 1993; Ruggie, 1993a. 5. See Arthur, 1994; Pierson, 2000. Mahoney (2000) stresses the necessity of contingency in the emergence of the ‘best practice’. As we discuss below, because significant multilateral treaty-making was a response to industrialization, a highly contingent event, this condition is satisfied in this case. 6. The classic example of this from economics is the QWERTY keyboard. This configuration arose for rational reasons (the need to slow typists to stop typewriters

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from jamming), yet its emergence as best practice closed off avenues of history that might have led to the development of more ergonomic letter placement more rational for the computer age. See Arthur, 1994. 7. In line with Couch and Farrell’s (2004) analysis of changes in paths, alternatives to multilateral treaty-making do not necessarily disappear even when multilateral treaty-making grows in prominence. Public Unions survive into the twentieth century and large multilateral conferences saw resurgence in the late twentieth century. This retention of latent institutional forms is entirely consistent with the pathdependence argument and is, according to Couch and Farrell, a means for change in paths. 8. It has not escaped our notice that treaties of war and peace depart from this pattern. The politics of war and peace may be more crisis-driven than the bulk of international interaction.We take up the implications of this departure in forthcoming work. 9. Ikenberry (2001) considers these costs to be so high that nothing short of a major war provides the opportunity to restructure the system. 10. Initial social network analyses of treaty signings indicate the emergence of distinct, non-Western regional treaty systems (Hoffmann et al., 2007).

References
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Appendix I There exists a great deal of information on multilateral treaties. The challenge, from the perspective of those who wish to understand general trends in treaty-making behaviour, is that this information is usually presented in formats designed to serve very specific purposes. The majority of individuals with a professional interest in treaties want to know the current status of agreements in a given issue-area, or the current status of a given state’s obligations. Hence there are several places to find the most current versions of treaty texts, the most current set of signators and the most current sets of agreements to which a given state may be party. Very few students of multilateral treaties have been interested in cumulating information on overall trends in treaty-making behaviour. This dataset was built on those few sources, and supplemented with information garnered from national or special-focus treatments. The three largest contemporary sources of general information on multilateral treaties are Christian Wiktor’s Multilateral Treaty Calendar, Vaclav Mostecky’s Index to Multilateral Treaties and Multilateral Treaties: Index and Current Status by M. Bowman and D. Harris (1984). The two most useful older sources, both with something of a national orientation, include William Malloy (for the first two volumes) and G. Charles (for volume 3), Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, Protocols, and Agreements Between the United States of America and Other Powers and Clive Parry, Consolidated Treaty Series, 1648–1919. We reviewed the material in each of these sources, noting every international agreement concluded between three or more states (or international organizations) that emerged in written form and were understood to be governed by international law. This is essentially the definition of the term ‘treaty’ under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. We recorded the title, date of signing, number of signators, identity of signators and place of signing. We also recorded information on links to other treaties and dates of coming into or going out of force. When this information was not available, we searched other sources, including the United Nations Treaty Series, national collections and specialty treatments, for missing material. In all, we identified 6976 treaties, although certain elements are still incomplete. For example, we only have a full list of signators for 6033 treaties, and complete information on place of signing is only available in 5957 cases. We continue to work on completing these elements. We categorized the treaties into both specific and more general groupings. Our more specific categorizations were adopted from those used by Wiktor in the largest of the contemporary compendia. He uses 282 categorizations that were assigned ‘… following those used by the U.S. State Department, Treaty Office, slightly modified, by subjects employed by the United Nations in its treaty publications’ (Wiktor, 1998: xxii). We familiarized ourselves with those categories so that we could categorize treaties not included in Wiktor’s work. Categorization was based on consensus among two faculty members, the graduate student in charge of the dataset, and

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either the graduate or undergraduate coders who were involved.A set of six broader categorizations was created into which all sub-categories were placed. Appropriate placement of about two-thirds of the sub-categories into their broader categorizations was apparent, although the graduate student in charge of the dataset, and both faculty members involved, reviewed these choices. Those categories that were more difficult to fit were broken down by treaty title, and all three of us discussed proper placement. All decisions were based on review and consensus, and as a result there are no concerns with inter-coder reliability. In this article, we use version 1.2 of the dataset. It is not perfect. The largest source is self-consciously biased toward treaties that were published in either English or French (Wiktor, 1998: xxi). This is justified by Wiktor in part given the requirements of the League of Nations and the UN to submit all treaties in one of those languages to its depository. Our second largest sources (Mostecky, 1965) is less constrained by language, but ends in 1963. Version 1.3 of this dataset is in process, and will include treaties from updates of the Mostecky dataset, as well as material from treaty calendars of the USSR and China. It will also include materials from specialty sources in areas like the environment and human rights. While the dataset is not perfect, we believe it is sufficiently representative of multilateral treatymaking to serve as the foundation of the large-n study presented here. We look forward to future modifications and we welcome input.
ROBERT A. DENEMARK is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware. His research and teaching interests include international political economy, multilateralism and the historical evolution of the global system. Address: Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA. [email: denemark@udel.edu]

MATTHEW J. HOFFMANN is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His research and teaching interests include global governance, social constructivism, multilateralism and environmental politics. Address: Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, 100 St. George St, Toronto, Ontario M5S2K3, Canada. [email: mjhoff@utsc.utoronto.ca]

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