Vinod K. Aggarwal and Cedric Dupont
International Political Science Review, 2002
In our article “Goods, Games, and Institutions,” published in this journal (Aggarwal and Dupont, 1999), we emphasized the need to improve our understanding of the underlying conditions within which institutions might promote cooperation among states and other international actors. To do so, we provided a unified theoretical framework that specified bargaining games based both on the costs and benefits of different types of goods as well as the actors’ differing capabilities. The attention received by that work suggests that our article has met one key objective—stimulating further work on formalizing the basis of international cooperation and the role of institutions.
Our emphasis in this comment is to examine whether our work will serve as a positive or negative benchmark for further research. According to Klaus Wallner, whose critique of our work appears on pages 343–401 in this issue, our modeling approach is seriously flawed. Consequently, while endorsing the thrust of our research program, he calls for a different analytical approach to examining the problems we identify. We will show here, however, that the perceived flaws identified by Wallner are really the result of several simple analytical errors on his part. And while his errors thus invalidate his own critique, his incorrect claims about the possibility of cost-sharing equilibria in the provision of public and common pool resource (CPR) goods have stimulated us to further develop our line of thinking.
Before turning to these findings on cost-sharing equilibria, however, we first discuss Wallner’s errors. Of the four claims advanced by Wallner in his critique of our work, we focus on his central claim that we have made a serious analytical error in our modeling. All of his remaining claims derive from this assertion.