Conceptual, Methodological and Substantive Issues Entwined in Studying Compliance

In his insightful introduction to this collection Jose E. Alvarez refers to the popularity of studies of “why nations behave.” He explains this popularity as a response to the increasing waves of international regulation that have occurred during the closing years of the twentieth century, regulation that frequently involves issues previously left to nation states. As one who has been a participant over the past decade in an effort to discover answers to the question that Alvarez put so clearly, the author is pleased by the broad interest that the subject has gained and feels privileged to have an opportunity to comment on a range of studies beyond our own, to explore what has been accomplished by the collective effort, and to frame issues that could benefit from further investigation and urge that this research be undertaken. As a political scientist, Jacobson is grateful to be able to state in a legal journal his firm belief that this topic must be explored jointly by legal scholars and social scientists and to express gratitude to those legal scholars who have worked on the topic with social scientists. These two broad themes will define this essay. Examining the articles in this collection will provide a base but not the only base for these comments.