This chapter analyzes the most important source of international law – the international agreement. It first explains why it is appropriate to think of states as being risk neutral rather than risk averse in the context of international law. It then explores the choice states make between various design features in their international agreements, including the choice between hard and soft law, the presence or absence of dispute resolution, the use of reservations, escape clauses, and exit clauses. The trade‐off between form and substance in agreements is also explained, as is the manner in which membership rules are developed.
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