The title of this paper has an optimistic flair in asking what rather than if regime theory may contribute towards explaining cooperative arrangements among oil-producing countries. My investigation, which draws on empirical rather than theoretical arguments, points towards a sober conclusion: the relevance of regime theory is limited in this field. In this paper we discuss, firstly, conventional definitions and categorizations of international regimes. Secondly, oil-producing cooperation is discussed as empirical phenomenon – followed, thirdly, by a consideration of these empirics against a set of theories on international regimes. Finally, I will offer some alternative ways of perceiving of and explaining oil producer cooperation.
What Do Theories of International Regimes Contribute to the Explanation of Cooperation (and Failure of Cooperation) among Oil-Producing Countries?
This paper discusses oil producer cooperation in the light of regime theory and finds that while such theory may have little specific to offer in this field, there are sound alternative explanations to voluntary cooperation among oil-producing states.
ARENA Working Paper 12/1999 (html)
Dag Harald Claes