- Institutionalism in international relations
Institutionalism in international relations holds that the international system is not—in practice—anarchic, but that it has an implicit or explicit structure which determines how states will act within the system.
Institutions are rules that determine the decision-making process. In the international arena, institution has been used interchangeably with 'regime', which has been defined by Krasneras a set of explicit or implicit "principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures around which actors expectations converge in a given issue-area."
Institutionalist scholars hold a wide array of beliefs stemming from the central proposition that institutions "matter" in answering the question "what explains a particular outcome?". There are four reasons for this:
*They structure choices
*They provide incentives
*They distribute power
*They define identities and roles
Rational choice institutionalism
This school attempts to explain collective choices by rational actors. Outcomes are a product of the interaction between actor preferences "and" institutional rules.
Rational institutionalists also regard institutions as themselves being rationally chosen by actors who view the rules as facilitating the pursuit of their goals. For example, the institutional decision-making rules of the
European Unionare such that the largest states can structure political outcomes.
historical institutionalismschool believes that institutional factors account for differences in cross-national political outcomes. There are two elements:
#Institutions could shape actor preferences by structuring incentives, redistributing power, and by influencing the cultural context.
#History is "path dependent." Choices or events early in the process can force a path from which it becomes increasing difficult to deviate.
Skocpol's work illustrates an example of historical institutionalism. Responses to the Great Depressionof the 1930s differed greatly between Swedenand the United Kingdom, which had similar problems in terms of severity and duration. The two countries responded with vastly differ policies due to differences in existing domestic institutional structures.
Neorealism, or structural realism, is a theory of international relations, outlined by
Kenneth Waltzin his 1979 book, "Theory of International Politics". Waltz argues in favor of a systemic realist approach: the international structure acts as a constraint on state behavior, so that different states behave in a similar rational manner, and outcomes fall within an expected range.
Neoliberalism refers to a school of thought which believes that nation-states are, or at least should be, concerned first and foremost with absolute gains (economic, strategic, etc.), rather than relative gains to other nation-states. Since their approach tends to emphasize the possibility of mutual wins, they are interested in institutions which can arrange jointly profitable arrangements and compromises.
International relations theory
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