Values and interests: International legalization in the fight against corruption

Kenneth W. Abbott, Duncan Snidal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Standard rational choice analysis explains many but not all aspects of the highly political process of international legalization. Because law engages and affects not only the interests of actors but also their normative values, the development and operation of legal regimes can be understood only by considering both motivations together. We develop a simple model of the interaction of "value" and "interest" actors that shows how their different logics of behavior and distinctive strategies drive the politics of legalization - both in particular episodes and through deeper interrelationships over time. To demonstrate our argument empirically, we analyze how various turning points in the development of the 1997 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Anti-bribery Convention can be fully understood only as resulting from the interplay of values and interests. Our analysis thus blends rational choice with normative or constructivist approaches to provide a richer account of international legalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S141-S178
JournalJournal of Legal Studies
Issue number1 II
StatePublished - Jan 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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