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Behavioural Approaches to International Law

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Behavioural Approaches to International Law

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Until recently, international legal scholarship has largely been premised on the assumption of rational action on the part of key actors in international law, whether those actors be states, international organizations, judges, arbitrators, or government officials. However, recent literature in cognate disciplines, such as international relations and political science, integrates insights from behavioural economics and cognitive psychology in order to construct more descriptively accurate models of decision-making, including those decisions that pertain to international law.

A series of workshops at Hamburg University and Leiden University builds on the nascent literature that aims to integrate empirical insights regarding the bounded rationality of decision makers from neighbouring disciplines to the analysis of international law. The workshops act as a forum in which international legal scholars whose research adopts a behavioural approach can present their works-in-progress and gain feedback from a broad range of peers, including scholars in economics

This first workshop, which was held online on 17 November 2020, acted as a platform at which scholars could outline the conceptual framework for their project, their methodology, and their preliminary findings. The second workshop on 22-23 April 2021 gives speakers an opportunity to gain feedback on a more developed piece of research, which will form the basis of an article. This workshop will be the first event of the ESIL IG Social Sciences and International Law. Due to the current situation, the second workshop will also be held online

Support for these workshops and open-access publications that are to follow is provided by the European Research Council, as part of Dr Veronika Fikfak’s project HRNUDGE (www.humanrightsnudge.com) and by the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, the Leiden University Fund/Dr. H.A. van Beuningen Fonds (www.luf.nl).

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