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ECPR General Conference 2020, University of Innsbruck

Comparing International Finance and Security Regime Complexes

Stephanie Hofmann
University of Geneva
Stephanie Hofmann
University of Geneva
Cédric Dupont
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

The scholarship on international institutions is waking up to the observation that international institutions do not exist and act in a political vacuum but instead are surrounded by other political bodies that formulate policies in the same issue domain. The recent studies on regime complexity, however, have so far not investigated the comparative aspects. We want address this research gap through the study of uncertainty and its impact on different regime complexes’ structure. The two policy domains under investigation are international finance and international security. We argue that in international finance, where speculation is a driving force, uncertainty about the state of the world is desirable, as long it does not come from sudden state intervention. As a result, regime complexes consist out of a mix of formal and informal institutions and their relationships change frequently. In international security, uncertainty spurs fear and war; reliable information is necessary and as such the regime complex exists out of predominantly formal institutions. Only if states face risks rather than threats to their own survival, can we observe the creation of more ad hoc institutions. To investigate this argument, we concentrate on the post WWII period with the aim to highlight the variance of regime complexes across different sub-periods in the last 60 years.
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