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Work In Progress

Upcoming Work-In-Progress Seminar 30.01.2019 “Minimal Participation Criteria in International Treaties: Explaining Their Impact on Multilateral Cooperation”

14 January 2019

Dr Christian Arnold, Dr Douglas Atkinson (Cardiff University) & Dr Carsten Schulz (PUC Santiago de Chile) – “Minimal Participation Criteria in International Treaties: Explaining Their Impact on Multilateral Cooperation


16.00-17.50 Wednesday 30th of January 2019 – Room 1.28 of the Law and Politics Building


On the 30th of January the ISRU will welcome Dr Christian Arnold, Dr Douglas Atkinson & Dr Carsten Schulz to present their paper entitled “Minimal Participation Criteria in International Treaties: Explaining Their Impact on Multilateral Cooperation” in the first ISRU Work in Progress Seminar of 2019. The seminar will be held in room 1.28 of the Cardiff University Law and Politics building on Park Place at 4pm.


Dr Christian Arnold is a lecturer of politics at Cardiff University, his research looks predominately at institutions of governance with a key focus on quantitative methods and natural language processing. Dr Douglas Atkinson, also of Cardiff University, is a Research Fellow in the School of Law and Politics. Both Dr Arnold and Atkinson were part of the team that launched the Cardiff University Centre for Legal and Analytical Studies in 2018. The CPLA is an innovative research centre which aims to use previously untapped data sources and cutting edge research methods has been launched by the School of Law and Politics. Dr Carsten Schulz is an Assistant Professor in International Relations at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and co-editor of the bilingual political science journal Revista de Ciencia Política. His research centers on the historical evolution of international order and the international relations of Latin American states.


Below is the abstract for this paper:


States willing to cooperate internationally face a common conundrum: incentives for free-riding can undermine collective efforts that would otherwise improve the welfare of everyone involved. IR and legal scholars have long argued that the rational design of international institutions mitigates collective action problems. This literature emphasises differences in the scope, flexibility, precision and delegation of treaty provisions, among other things. We show that another important aspect is often overlooked. International treaties may include thresholds that specify a minimum number of ratifying parties necessary for the agreement to enter into force. Because treaties generate externalities only then, such criteria have an important impact on how signatory states jointly produce public goods. When and why do states add minimum thresholds to international treaties? What explains the variation in threshold design? And how do these thresholds affect ratification? We analyse the complete ratification record of all multilateral agreements deposited with the UN since 1945. Our analysis demonstrates that ratification thresholds can be an effective bulwark against free riding, underscoring the importance of treaty design for international cooperation.


The ISRU actively encourages all interested members of staff and PGRs to attend. For more information and to added to the ISRU mailing list please contact: