Disaggregating International Regimes

From Earth System Governance

Disaggregating International Regimes

A New Approach to Evaluation and Comparison

By Olav Schram Stokke

A methodology for evaluating and comparing the effectiveness of international regimes is developed and applied to a successful example of such a regime.





A methodology for evaluating and comparing the effectiveness of international regimes is developed and applied to a successful example of such a regime.

Evaluating the effectiveness of international regimes presents challenges that are both general and specific. What are the best methodologies for assessment within a governance area and do they enable comparison across areas? In this book, Olav Schram Stokke connects the general to the specific, developing new tools for assessing international regime effectiveness and then applying them to a particular case, governance of the Barents Sea fisheries. Stokke's innovative disaggregate methodology makes cross-comparison possible by breaking down the problem and the relevant empirical evidence.

Stokke employs fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis, and his approach is disaggregate in three ways: it separates the specific governance problem into its cognitional, regulatory, and behavioral components; it splits into three the counterfactual analysis of what the outcome would have been if the regime had not existed; and it decomposes the empirical evidence to maximize the number of observations. By applying this methodology to a regional resource regime known as one of the world's most successful, Stokke bridges the gap between the intensive case study analyses that have dominated the field and increasingly ambitious efforts to devise quantitative methods for examining the causal impacts of regimes. Stokke's analysis sheds light on the implementation and the interaction of international institutions, with policy implications of regime design and operation.


$54.00 X ISBN: 9780262018012 368 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 1 map, 4 charts, 24 graphs, 16 tables


$34.00 X ISBN: 9780262517843 368 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 1 map, 4 charts, 24 graphs, 16 tables


  • A central problem of our time is fostering the sustainable co-evolution of natural and socio-economic systems. Because this problem is global in scope, international regimes must play a key role. When and how are international regimes effective? Olav Schram Stokke answers this difficult question in Disaggregating International Regimes. His analysis is incisive, innovative, and insightful, triangulating process tracing, configurational comparative analysis, and statistical inference. He offers a dramatic analytic breakthrough in his demonstration of how to use counterfactual analysis to assess regime effectiveness, providing an important template for future research.

    Charles Ragin

    Professor of Sociology and Political Science, University of Arizona

  • This book is well researched and presents a fresh approach to the analysis of regime effectiveness. It emphasizes that to be effective, an international regime does not only require appropriate regulation and ensuing behavioral changes of relevant actors, but also a reliable cognitive foundation. It blends theoretical analysis with an interesting study of the Barents Sea fisheries regime. I highly recommend it to those concerned with the methodological and theoretical aspects of regime effectiveness research and to those interested in a highly topical cooperation project in the conflict-ridden Arctic area.

    Thomas Gehring

    Professor of International Politics and European Integration, Otto-Friedrich University Bamberg

  • Olav Schram Stokke makes major contributions to our understanding of international institutions. Perhaps Stokke's most important contribution is theoretical, helping us think more clearly about the fact that international institutions perform distinct cognitive, regulatory, and behavioral functions and that a complete understanding of international institutions requires that we think about these separately.

    Ronald B. Mitchell

    Professor of Political Science and Environmental Politics, University of Oregon

  • All those who thought there was nothing much to be added to the existing research on regime evolution and effectiveness will be compelled by this book to change their minds. Olav Schram Stokke provides a fresh and most systematic approach to disaggregating regime effectiveness that will no doubt take a central place in any collection on the subject.

    Sebastian Oberthür

    Academic Director, Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel