Gaustadalléen 30 (map)
ARENA Working Papers
|Assumed logic of action|
|Logic of consequences||Logic of appropriateness|
|of history||Inefficient history||History-dependent rationality||History-dependent institutionalism|
There are a number of somewhat different categories within this group of studies. For example, studies by neo-liberal institutionalists define international institutions and regimes as stemming from attempts by individual actors to achieve control and counteract the inadequacy of their own resources. Fluctuations in the number or strength of international institutions and regimes reflect the calculations of self-interested actors (primarily states) trying to resolve collective-action problems and gain efficiency through voluntary exchanges, contracts and treaties. Outcomes depend on the ability to find and implement Pareto-improvements, counteract market-failures, reduce transaction costs and overcome conflicts of interest. A core question is how alternative institutions and regimes affect the chances of discovering mutual benefits. 
On the other hand, studies by realists portray states as less concerned with Pareto-improvements and more concerned with clashing interests, strategic interaction, alliances, coercion, relative power, distributional aspects, and relative gains. States are the important actors and international institutions are less likely and less important. Because such elements of order reflect the interests of powerful states, they are more likely when power is concentrated in the international system, for instance, when a hegemon or a stable coalition of dominant powers sees an institutional arrangement as maintaining or increasing the ability to exercise power. Changes in order results from changing powers and material capabilities. 
While studies in the (neo-)liberal institutional tradition and the (neo-)realist tradition are often characterized as being in opposition, their differences are relatively narrow. They place different emphases on the role of voluntary exchange and dominance, and they specify utility functions differently, i.e. the relative importance of absolute and relative gains.  They also locate rationality at a different level. The realist assumption of states as unitary actors is different from the neo-liberalist assumption of rational individuals calculating the personal benefits of alternative memberships and policies.
Nevertheless, the two approaches share consequentialist assumptions about action and conceptions of history as efficient. Both traditions account for changes in the international order by describing calculating egoists acting in a history-free world. Actors are opportunistic and always look for individual advantage. They never honor contracts out of a sense of obligation. There are no intrinsically valuable forms of association and cohesion.  And although there is some recognition of a possible role of institutions in creating the preference functions of egoists,  for the most part, the creation of preferences and interests is seen as exogenous to the politics they affect.
The second group of studies (the lower left corner of Table 1) emphasizes a view of action as based on a logic of consequences but within an inefficient historical process. This group includes many economic and evolutionary studies of search and local feedback.  Outcomes of actions taken at one time depend on factors of attention allocation and probabilistic interaction that are not predictable from environmental conditions. Those outcomes, however, determine subsequent paths of history in a way that makes a consequential history path-dependent. In addition, interests and resources evolve from the outcomes of history. The premises of history are not fixed but co-evolve with their consequences.
The third group of studies (the upper right corner of Table 1) emphasizes a view of action as based on a logic of appropriateness and history as efficient. This group includes many works by institutional economists and some by institutional sociologists.  For them, action is rule-based. Institutions and norms are important. Individual actors seek to fulfill their identities. However, the rules, norms, identities, organizational forms, and institutions that exist are the inexorable products of an efficient history. The principles are the principles of comparative statics. Surviving institutions are seen as uniquely fit to the environment, thus predictable from that environment.
The fourth group (the lower right corner of Table 1) includes those studies that emphasize a view of action as based on a logic of appropriateness but see history as inefficient. Much of the time, our own work is located within this group.  So also is the work of evolutionary economists who emphasize the process of evolution rather than any necessary outcome.  The rules, norms, institutions, and identities that drive human action are seen as developing in a way that cannot be predicted from prior environmental conditions. They co-evolve with the worlds in which they act. They are subject to local positive feedback that traps them at local optima. Rules are understandable only by understanding their histories.
Studies of international political orders draw from all four of these scholarly traditions to make sense of international organizations and politics, but they do not draw equally from each. The overwhelming inclination of interpreters of international politics is to favor consequentialist, efficient history accounts over accounts that emphasize appropriateness, and inefficient histories. This preference is hard to justify strictly from historical observations. Any of the interpretations can claim a certain amount of confirmation in the historical record, but none is unambiguously dominant over the others on that basis. It is not obvious that any one approach is superior to the others in capturing the complexities of change. There are several stories to be told and a necessary humility associated with the telling of any one of them.
Given, however, that recent efforts to understand political orders have emphasized consequential action and efficient histories, either jointly (the upper left corner in Table 1) or individually (the lower left and upper right corners), we believe a perspective based on the lower right corner may be useful in identifying otherwise overlooked or underestimated phenomena. Consequently, in this essay we emphasize the perspective of the fourth group of studies. We examine some aspects of the inefficient historical processes by which identities, rules, resources, capabilities, and institutions of international political orders develop over time. The approach is not remarkable and provides no extraordinary magic of interpretation, but it may also be not entirely foolish.
If history were efficient, political practice would adjust immediately and uniquely to current, exogenously determined desires and capabilities. We have argued that history is not efficient in that sense, that indeed institutions are relatively robust against environmental change or deliberate reform and that desires and capabilities co-evolve with the practices that reflect them. As a result, history is path dependent in the sense that the character of current institutions depends not only on current conditions but also on the historical path of institutional development.
Change and stability are linked to definitions and redefinitions of the self and the situation. Those definitions are partly the result of deliberate policies adopted by existing authorities. Our interest is, however, more in the consequences of the ordinary course of political history as individuals, groups, and states act with only incidental concern for grand issues of international organization. Identities and competencies are shaped by political activities and interactions. They arise partly in the context of politics and become embedded in rules, practices, beliefs, and institutions. As illustrations, we consider two mechanisms of historical path dependence in the evolution of political order. The effect of engagement in political activities on the shaping of identities, and the effect of engagement on the development of competence and capability.
Illustration 1: Engagement and the development of identities
Students of international politics tell three different exaggerated stories about the effects of political interaction on the premises of politics. Story Number 1 sees political identities as arising in ways unconnected to political life. They are social products of broader cultures of belief that are beyond the reach of politics.  Socio-cultural bonds, preferences, identities, internalized principles, codes of appropriate behavior, and political resources are all important, but they are formed outside of politics and prior to political interaction. 
Story Number 2, in contrast, pictures political actors as malleable within politics. The emergence, development, and spread of understandings, identities, interests, and institutions are shaped by interaction and involvement in political activities.  Interdependence, interaction, and communication lead to shared experiences and hence to shared meaning, to a convergence of expectations and policies, and to the development of common institutions. As a result of either calculated strategy, learning, or socialization, actors are induced to act differently from the way they would act in one-time encounters.  Long-term contacts create habits of working together, friendships, group loyalties, and knowledge about others. They create convergence, mutual confidence, and positive trust-spirals.  They alter political competencies, augmenting skills at political compromise.
Story Number 3, like Story 2 but unlike Story 1, sees political actors as created by their political interactions, but it portrays contact as exacerbating international differences. Contact contributes to exposing and sharpening differences rather than eliminating them, to reinforcing antagonisms, contradictory world views, and stereotypes rather than extinguishing them.  Whereas ignorance of differences allows cooperation, knowledge of those differences stimulates actions that accentuate them and encourage hostility. Whereas inexperience in international political relations makes political actors cautious about political adventures, experience breeds risky adventures justified by a sense of competence and control. In this view, extensive political involvement, contact, and experience does not facilitate understanding, but rather makes conflict more likely.
The mechanisms involved in each of the three stories are well-established ones. The outcomes of each are easily imaginable, and history provides numerous occasions interpretable as consistent with any of the them. Each of the stories clearly captures part of observed histories. In particular, we think it is clear that the second story describes a significant mechanism involved in the development of international orders. The idea that contact and involvement in joint political activities among the individuals of different states will lead to a more stable and more inclusive political order needs to be qualified in significant ways to fit history; but understandings, identities, interests, and institutions can mold the behaviors of political actors and through them the outcomes of politics. The nation state secures much of its coherence from a sense of belonging among citizens that translates into a set of obligations of citizenship. Individuals within a state are sometimes capable of empathy, confidence, trust, goodwill, shared norms and bonds of cohesion, i.e. "civicness" or "social capital".  Nation states secure their legitimacy and permanence from shared conceptions of an orderly rule-based life. 
Creating international identities deliberately. Some proponents of international order believe that the processes that sustain national civic identities and thereby reconstitute nation states can be used deliberately to create some kind of international civic identity. Advocates of the European Union have argued that a common market and federal legal order were "not sufficient to bind the member states and the peoples of Europe together as the EU began to impinge on key attributes of state authority".  Europeans are invited to imagine a number of different Europes, to remember some identities and common ties, and to forget identities that tend to create cleavages and conflicts.  This emphasis on the importance of a European identity and constitutive belongings tends to be paired with a view of communication, joint reasoning, and argumentation as necessary conditions for international cooperation, civilized conflict resolution and political order.  Hopes for such a transformation are buoyed by the observation that even if genuine identity-related discourse is rare in world politics,  pockets of such discourse can be found, for instance, around themes like human rights  and environmental sustainability. 
Enthusiasms for achieving new identities through political engagement cannot entirely negate either the pessimism about the political molding of human identities that typifies Story 1 or the dangers of interaction highlighted by Story 3. There are ample grounds for caution in anticipating a sudden burst of global definitions of self. The difficulties involved in trying to develop a European identity, citizenship, and culture deliberately are manifest. Attempts by EU authorities to use cultural and media policies to construct collective identities and a common European communicative space confront highly diverse and conflicting existing identities and allegiances. 
The worldviews, values, desires, commitments, and capabilities necessary to more inclusive political orders can be quite inaccessible to political experience and learning, but an elementary fact of the past two hundred years is that humans have civilized their lives within the nation state context by developing institutions and rules that regulate their relations. They have created identities that often restrain passions and interests, inducing individuals to follow rules of conduct that are both taken for granted and oriented to collective obligations.  Whether a similar program can accomplish a similar integration at an international level is certainly in doubt, but when organizations such as the OECD call attention to differences between leaders and laggards among countries in terms of their willingness and ability to adopt what is defined as a modern, democratic, and economically efficient public sector, they modify the reference groups of national bureaucrats, their aspirations, and their behavior. 
Creating international identities without intending to. The mechanisms of education, socialization, and participation that develop, maintain, and undermine shared identities are obviously more weakly developed at the international level than within individual nation states.  That situation will not change quickly, but it can change gradually without much in the way of conscious intention. 
To explore how this might happen, consider two mechanisms that contribute to making international institutions and identities imaginable: First, it is possible that international identities will evolve from a "spillover" of domestic democratic orientations and identities into international politics. The tendency of democratic states to deviate from strictly consequentialist international actions has been noted by students of international relations. It has been observed that democracies have rarely gone to war against each other.  In bilateral relations, democracies appear generally to treat each other in a somewhat more rule-based manner than do non-democratic regimes. Rules of appropriateness are sometimes followed even in critical cases of societies living on "the security knife-edge".  For example, the (Norwegian, not British) historian Odd-Bjørn Fure observes that in a war involving an existential struggle, Britain refrained in 1940 from using its sea power against German transportation of iron ore from Northern Norway in Norwegian waters. Such attacks were seen to be against international law and British authorities apparently acted less from a calculation of military or political consequences than out of concern of what could legitimately be done in international affairs. Fure also observes that similar concerns inhibited Britain from the use of force in disputes with Norway over sea territory and fishing rights in 1933-1936. 
Moreover, although they also often calculate consequences, democratic states are likely to import democratic norms and decision-making rules into international encounters, for example, norms of transparency, consultation, compromise. Since such internal norms and rules tend to be shared among democratic states, their generalization to international relations is unsurprising, although hardly assured in all instances. In turn, experience with shared rules facilitates the development of rule-based international institutions and makes the creation of a collective identity more likely.  At the same time, democratic norms are contagious. They spread through international contact to countries with less secure democratic traditions. For example, participation in the EU has been portrayed as contributing to the construction not only of a European identity but also of a domestic democratic political identity in countries such as Greece and Spain. 
In these ways, rule-based versions of democratic identities and action, negotiation, and collective behavior have been extended to international institutions. The extension is, however, neither reliable nor assured for the future. In addition to the complications already noted, it should be observed that the idea of political institutions based on democratic rules has been somewhat eroded in modern market-based societies by conceptions that place greater emphasis on consequence-based action and market exchange mechanisms for collective choice, that is by introducing into politics the basic rules and practices of markets. Thus, the spillover of democratic political identities from domestic politics to international politics is counterbalanced by the spillover of individualistic identities of competitive self-interest in the other direction.
Second, international identities may evolve from the practice of expert cooperation around specific tasks. The tension between expertise and politics has been a familiar theme of democratic political theory since the days of the Greek city state. Those discussions are primarily concerned with the difficulties that expertise and specialized knowledge create for democratic control over public policy, and the difficulties that democratic control create for intelligent use of expertise. Those issues remain in the international sphere, along with the difficulties of defining boundaries between expert domains and lay domains. Partly because modern democratic processes are primarily organized around and within the nation state, international political issues tend to be defined as issues of nation state interests, bargaining, negotiation, and conflict. Some issues are, however, defined as non-political in the sense that national interests are not treated as overwhelmingly compelling. In particular, "modernization" emphasizes notions of instrumental performance and efficiency, rather than local traditions or interests. Such issues allow more room for experts, technical considerations, and professionalism. The boundary shifts with changing political pressures, but there is always a domain for expertise and technical problem solving, and this domain tends to be organized along transnational lines.
Concepts of expertise stimulate associations and collaborations that recognize national boundaries but tend to subordinate them to shared professional concerns. These "epistemic communities"  and international networks of experts and bureaucrats define problems, construct conceptions of causal knowledge, and create frames for action that integrate across nation states.  Their activities and associations lead to bonds that can develop into international identities. Concepts and codes of appropriate behavior, traditionally the province of local schools and civic education become a product of international contact, institutions, allegiances, and organizations. As international identities and contacts among experts become more dense and specialized, these linkages contribute to definitions of problems as international in scope and of identities and meaning as cutting across state boundaries.
This mutual reinforcement of associations, identities, and perceptions of problems leads to an elaboration of international connections, making them more pervasive, more overlapping, and more embedded in definitions of expertise.  The process can be described simply: Stage 1: Non-political, technical issues create occasions for participation across borders. Stage 2: Frequent and long-term participation in discussing technical issues fosters more general familiarity, shared identities, and mutual trust. Stage 3: Trust, shared identities, and familiarity encourage further contact, further integration, an expansion of the number of topics viewed as appropriate for discussion, and the development of common definitions of problems and appropriate actions. 
The resulting order is characterized by functional networks of people often organized around representatives of "sister-institutions", like central banks, professional associations, courts, and bureaucracies operating at the national and the international decision-making levels.  This pattern of organization stimulates and supports new transnational identities. This suggests that the institutions of expertise associated with the World Bank, UNESCO, OECD, the European Union, and other similar organizations have to be seen as creators of meaning in general and more specifically of identities.  That is, they are not only decision making institutions but also institutions for socializing individuals and creating meaning, promoting specific concepts of the nature and role of the state, markets, human rights, and international organizations.
Illustration 2: Engagement and the development of capabilities
Political actors accumulate experience with existing institutions, practices, and rules as they try to track and adapt to their environments and to changes in them. Capabilities for using institutions, practices, and rules are refined through mundane processes of learning, interpretation, reasoning, education, imitation, and adaptation. As a result, involvement in political activities not only changes identities. It also builds and directs political capabilities.
Competency traps and multiple equilibria. Political arrangements become more efficient as the rules are refined and as actors become more competent in operating within them. Efficiency, however, easily becomes the enemy of adaptiveness. As particular rules are used repeatedly, political actors become more familiar with them and more competent operating within them, thus encouraging their further use. This local positive feedback  produces what has been called a competency trap,  the tendency for a system to become firmly locked into a particular rule-based structure by virtue of the development of familiarity with the rules and capabilities at using them. These refined capabilities strengthen a system in the short run and make it resistant to change. By developing competence with rules, institutions stabilize their norms, rules, meanings and resources so that many different procedures can exhibit surprising durability. 
The accelerating development of competence with particular institutional arrangements and practices is a major feature of institutional history and is one of the more obvious reasons why history is path dependent. The local optima produced by competence elaboration are resistant to new opportunities. For that reason, they are also potential precursors to long run obsolescence  and to the discontinuous, contested, and problematic change  associated with "punctuated equilibria",  "critical junctions",  and "performance crises". 
The competency trap is a variation on a standard problem in adaptation: The exploitation and refinement of known technologies, practices, and rules tends to drive out the exploration of possible new ones. As competence grows with established rules and practices, the disadvantage of new rules and practices increases. As that disadvantage increases, experiments with new rules are decreased. And as experiments with new rules decrease, the chance of finding a good new alternative or gaining competence on one that might be superior becomes smaller.
Social, economic, and political systems are all prone to competency traps and to at least moderate jerkiness in fundamental transformations. They typically have difficulty sustaining experimentation. From any immediate perspective, this is not because they are stupidly rigid but because they are intelligently efficient. For them to pursue new alternatives makes little apparent sense. The returns to exploration tend to be less certain and less immediate than the returns to exploitation. They also tend to be more distant, less localized in their realization to the immediate organizational neighborhood of the exploration. This is partly because new ideas tend to be poor ones, and it is partly because even good new ideas have returns that are more distant in time and space than those realized from current ideas. It is not easy for an organization to justify experimentation that, at least in the short run, does not make sense in terms of immediate local return. What is required is a willingness to engage in experimentation that is unlikely to succeed and particularly unlikely to be rewarding in the temporal and spatial neighborhood of the experiment. Unfortunately, although too little experimentation is likely to be disastrous in the longer run, too much experimentation is likely to be disastrous immediately.
Few organizations do well with the problems associated with balancing exploitation and exploration,  and there is little reason to think that international organizations will be particularly clever about it. There is an obvious difficulty in producing a requisite level of exploration in an organizational world dedicated to responding to short-run feedback or maximizing local expected return. It seems very likely that rather little of the experimentation in international organization occurs because of a conscious organizational intent to experiment. It occurs because of identities associated with experimentation, because of conflict, because of ideologies of experimentation, and as an unintended byproduct of instrumental action.  For example, some have argued that core democratic identities require that citizens have a "hypothetical attitude" toward existing institutions and forms of life and should seek to restructure the institutions, rules and manners of living together.  This tendency to legitimize change introduces a bias that often seems perverse in the way it overturns functioning practices. For example, democratic politics is sometimes an annoyance to experts in law, who seek coherent and unified legal hierarchies of norms and values.  To a limited extent, however, a bias for change is a way by which democracy becomes a source of experimentation in political relations,  making continuous processes of integration, disintegration and reintegration more likely and less dependent upon external pressures alone.
Not surprisingly, institutions are particularly likely to be changed when they are seen to fail. On the whole, people are less likely to follow institutional rules if they believe that the rules produce poor results.  If institutions miss their targets or aspiration levels, the failure creates a loss of confidence in existing rules and a search for new alternatives.  Since experience frequently improves performance, failure would not produce much experimentation in a highly competent system were it not for the fact that the determination of success and failure from an historical record is notoriously subject to updating of aspirations, bias, and noise. If success and failure were reliably determined, the development of competence would make institutions more stable than they are. Unreliability in assessment of success and the insatiable character of aspirations are quite likely to lead political institutions to experiment at the right time for the wrong reasons.
Competence and the transformation of objectives. The development of competence in the service of existing institutions and objectives is primarily a stabilizing force. But it also creates foundations for new institutions and new objectives. Organizations not only become better and better at what they do, they also see new things to do. Having the capability of doing new things leads, in turn, to seeing their desirability. Capabilities stimulate recognition of the salience of problems to which they can provide solutions.  By transforming capabilities, therefore, competence transforms agendas and goals.
Of particular relevance to present concerns is the way competence is developed in the context of concrete activities and then becomes the basis for expansion of objectives to a wider range of concerns. In their early stages, European states developed competencies as an artifact of solving immediate practical problems and taking care of local interests. Those competencies gradually were transformed into institutions and political practices that used them. Nation state builders started with instrumental motives, such as winning a war or collecting taxes; over time they discovered that they had built the foundations for strongly institutionalized states.  In a similar way, the development of military and economic competencies and institutions utilizing them poses a persistent threat to non-military and non-economic political institutions. The existence of capabilities is converted into an inclination to discover goals the abilities might serve, perhaps in competition with the political system. Thus, the elaboration of tasks is as much a consequence of competence as a cause of it.
The European Union has numerous arenas for interaction, argumentation, and collective problem solving and conflict resolution for bureaucrats, experts, representatives of organized interests and elected politicians. The process of engrenage exposes participants to new arguments, new perspectives, and new identities.  More importantly perhaps, it develops capabilities for mutual engagement. Considerable experience of acting together is accumulated and a significant amount of mutual influence between the EU and domestic institutions and actors is taking place, with no clear-cut borderline between the "national" and the "European".  The number of meetings in the context of the EU, together with meetings in the context of other international institutions, actually during some periods make ministers, bureaucrats and experts interact as much with colleagues from other countries as with their domestic colleagues. 
The changes these contacts have produced were neither particularly well anticipated by, nor the result of the will of, any easily identifiable group of political actors.  The elaboration of international capabilities is part of a long historical transformation of the West European state, reflecting as well as contributing to the erosion of state autonomy.  That transformation continues and predicting the direction it will take is not easy. For example, the EU is still an unsettled constitutional order, in terms of geographical reach, institutional balance, decision rules and functional scope. Efforts to deepen European integration and create a European polity, or even society, are balanced against nation states protecting their autonomy and the potential fragmentary tendencies of enlargement of the Union.  Even within expert domains, there are conditions that encourage a balkanization of expertise. Developments occur through learning in small (not always consistent) ways in many places.
The resulting institutional structure more closely resembles a marble cake than a hierarchy,  but it is not the same as it used to be. Involvements in highly instrumental and technical activities in the EU have created organizational capabilities for international collaboration that translate into a more general international institution and make more elaborate international coordination possible. The EU has become the most highly institutionalized international organization in history, in terms of depth as well as breadth, yet without becoming a federal state.  Participation in the EU has, indeed, altered the nation state itself. For example, EU citizens and corporations can, and do, invoke EU law against other individuals and their national governments. The Europeanization of law and the increased significance of norms in international politics  clearly have compromised the identity of territory and authority  in ways that owe much to the gradual accumulation of experience and the resulting gains in competence.
A different emphasis
The two examples illustrate some differences between a perspective (which we have called an institutional perspective that assumes identity-based action and inefficient history and a more conventional perspective that attributes action to calculations of consequences and environmental constraints. The latter interprets changes in an international political order primarily in terms of exogenously specified interests and capabilities, rational actors, expectations of consequences, and environmental pressures. The former sees changes in a political order more as involving the construction and evocation of rules, institutions, and identities, the development of capabilities, and the path dependent meanders of an inefficient history.
The illustrations are drawn from a universe that includes others, but they are not a random draw from that universe. Although the illustrations themselves are brief and incomplete, they are chosen not only to exemplify institutional modes of thinking in general but also to identify two of the more important specific contributions to the study of international relations that might be drawn from institutional perspectives. Understanding the ways in which political identities, rules, and capabilities evolve within a political order and the ways in which the evolution of identities, rules, and capabilities serves to create, sustain, or corrupt an order may be important to understanding histories of international political order.
The historical processes by which international political orders develop are complex enough to make any simple theory of them unsatisfactory. An interconnected and interdependent world produces histories in which changes in environmental conditions are not automatically or unambiguously reflected in changing political orders and institutional arrangements. Nor is it possible to describe the evolution of international political orders in terms of any simple notions of intentionality and design at the nation state level. History is created by a complicated ecology of local events and locally adaptive actions. As individuals, groups, organizations, and institutions seek to act intelligently and learn in a changing world involving others similarly trying to adapt, they create connections that subordinate individual intentions to their interactions. The locally adaptive actions that constitute that ecology are themselves based on subtle intertwinings of rational action based on expectations of consequences and rule-based action seeking to fulfill identities within environments that influence but do not uniquely dictate actions. Expectations, preferences, identities, and meanings are affected by human interaction and experience. They co-evolve with the actions they produce.
Such ideas do not encourage aspirations for applying standard experimental design or hypothesis testing in conventional form to the naturally occurring histories of international relations. Nor do they provide justification for expecting to predict specific events such as the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Wall, the ebbs and flows of European integration, or the renewed strength of ethnic nationalism. The study of international relations, like much of social science, is a branch of history, and the history of history discourages grandiose predictive hopes. Historical interpretations of the development of international orders are made difficult by the necessity of learning from small samples of uncontrolled conditions.
We accept the implications of that difficulty and thus the implausibility of proclaiming a bold new direction built on institutional representations of international political orders. Nevertheless, we think it may be useful to consider conceptions of history that build on the lower right hand corner of interpretive options, supplementing ideas of consequential action, exogenous preferences, and efficient histories with ideas of rule- and identity-based action, inefficient histories, and institutional robustness. Used to interpret careful historical observations and descriptions of behavior and events, such a perspective provides a basis for intelligent compromises between simple renderings of history that are inconsistent with reality and complex renderings that are inconsistent with human capacities for comprehension.
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* The research has been supported by the Spencer Foundation and the ARENA program (Advanced Research on the Europeanisation of the Nation-State) financed by the Norwegian Research Council. We are grateful for the help provided by Peter Katzenstein, Robert O. Keohane, Stephen D. Krasner, Helene Sjursen, Arthur Stein. Bjørn Otto Sverdrup, and Arild Underdal in introducing us to the international relations literature and for constructive comments.
** Stanford University: SCANCOR, 509 Ceras, Stanford University, CA 94305-3084, USA
*** ARENA, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1143 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
 See Krasner 1983a, Smith 1996, Remmer 1997.
 See Dewey 1927, Eisenstadt 1987, March and Olsen 1995.
 Hall 1996.
 Kramer 1998.
 Mann 1993.
 Habermas 1996, 1.
 See Bendix 1968, 9, Bull 1995, 21.
 These are issues to be discussed at an International Conference to celebrate the 350th Anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia 1648-1998: AFrom Pragmatic Solution to Global Structure, Mhnster 16-19 July 1998.
 Stone 1994, 448.
 See Jackson 1993, World Bank 1997.
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 Lapid 1997, 3, 5.
 March and Olsen 1995, 70.
 Ladeur 1997.
 Scharpf 1996, 15.
 See Risse-Kappen 1995, Joerges, Ladeur and Vos 1997.
 Deutsch 1957.
 See Krasner 1983a, Keohane 1982, 1984, 5, 1996, Kratochwil and Ruggie 1986, Haggard and Simmons 1987, Young 1989, 13, 1994, 1996, Mayer, Rittberger and Zürn 1995, 403, Levy, Young and Zhrn 1995, Hasenclever, Mayer and Rittberger 1996, 1997.
 Checkel 1997.
 Habermas 1996, 475.
 Mayer, Rittberger and Zürn 1995, 401, 405.
 Lake 1996, 30.
 See Krasner 1983b, Keohane 1982, 1984, 5, 1989, 9, Young 1986, 109, 1996, Rosenau and Czempiel 1992, Krasner 1995, 150, Mayer, Rittberger and Zürn 1995, 293-4, 397-8, Risse 1997, 18, Stokke 1997, Olsen 1997a.
 See Buzan 1993, 351, Jepperson, Wendt and Katzenstein 1996, 74.
 See Tilly 1975, 1993, Giddens 1985. But see Kaysen 1990.
 See Krasner 1983a, 1988, 1995, 145, Keohane 1984, 1988, 380, 1989, 2, Young 1986, 1994, 1996, Stone 1994, 464, Goldman 1996.
 Stinchcombe 1997.
 March and Olsen 1996, 260, note 2.
 DiMaggio 1997.
 See March and Olsen 1984, 1989, 1995.
 Olsen 1997a, 159-160.
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 See March and Olsen 1989, March 1994a.
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 Habermas 1996, xi, 8, 26-29.
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 See March and Olsen 1989,1995.
 Cerulo 1997.
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 Habermas 1996.
 Garret and Weingast 1993, 186.
 Stinchcombe 1986, 158.
 Offe 1996, 682.
 March 1994a, 101-102.
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 Searing 1991.
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 March 1994b.
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 March 1994b.
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 Lake 1996, 12,13.
 Keohane 1989, 6.
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 See March and Olsen 1989, 1994, 1995, 1996.
 Nelson and Winter 1982.
 Cerulo 1997.
 This mainstream view is discussed and criticized by Wendt 1992, 1994, Risse-Kappen 1996a, 1996b, Buzan 1996, Wæver 1997. See also, Mayer, Rittberger and Zhrn 1995, 424, Hasenclever, Mayer and Rittberger 1996, 181,184.
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 Allport 1954.
 Putnam 1993.
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 Laffan 1997a, 4.
 Schlesinger 1991, 178, 182.
 Risse 1997.
 Risse 1997, 19.
 Eide and Hagtvet 1992.
 World Commission 1987.
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 Elias 1994.
 Olsen 1997b.
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 Keohane 1996, 470.
 Fure 1996, 247, 349.
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 Haas 1992.
 Hill and Wallace 1996, 11.
 Young 1996, 1, 20.
 Haas 1958.
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 Levinthal and March 1993.
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 Krasner 1984.
 Collier and Collier 1991.
 March and Olsen 1989.
 Levinthal and March 1993.
 March 1994a, 40-54.
 Habermas 1996, 468.
 Stone 1994, 442.
 Shapiro and Hardin 1996, 5-6.
 Stinchcombe 1986, 166.
 Cyert and March 1963.
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 Tilly 1975
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 Stone 1994, 425.
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 Laffan 1997a.
 Jachtenfuchs and Kohler-Koch 1996.
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 Stone 1994, 473.
 Krasner 1995, 134.
[Date of publication in the ARENA Working Paper series: 14.4.1998]