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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Bargaining and Negotiation in International Relations (PLIT10153)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryBargaining is the basis of international interactions. States bargain as an alternative to war and they bargain to stop it. States bargain over international laws ranging from human rights to climate change and they also bargain over the rules of the international economic order. This course provides a firm understanding of bargaining as a framework and applies it to important issues in international relations.
Course description Questions of war and peace hinge on the outcomes of international negotiations. Peace agreements, trade treaties, international responses to the climate crisis, etc. are a result of negotiation between states and without understanding the structure and dynamics of such negotiations we are unable to understand the extent to which a cooperative solution is even possible. This course focuses on understanding the nature of international negotiations and using a bargaining framework to explore timely issues in international relations.

The course begins by covering the basics of bargaining theory, which will allow us to understand how to map states┬┐ preferences to understand the realm of possible agreement. We will see how the implementation of strategies and tactics in a negotiation influences the outcome of a particular negotiation, both at the bargaining table itself and beyond.

From there, the course will move into substantive applications of bargaining theory. This part of the course will cover issues such as crisis bargaining, conflict mediation and termination, trade agreements and the creation of international standards.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Introduction to Political Data Analysis (PLIT08009) OR Introduction to Statistics for Social Science (SSPS08008)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 4 Politics/International Relations courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the bargaining frameworks of international relations.
  2. Engage critically with the work of political science and international relations scholars, and evaluate their arguments.
  3. Explain bargaining strategies and tactics.
  4. Evaluate data and methodologies suitability for answering international relations questions.
  5. Demonstrate their ability to present - in written and verbal form - research applying a bargaining framework to a substantive research question.
Reading List
Fearon, James D. 1995. "Rationalist Explanations for War." International Organization 49 (3):379-414

Fearon, James D. 1998. "Bargaining, Enforcement, and International Cooperation. "International Organization 52 (2):269-305.

Ghosn, Faten. 2010. "Getting to the Table and Getting to Yes: An Analysis of International Negotiations." International Studies Quarterly 54(4): 1055-1072.

Kydd, A. H., & McManus, R. W. (2017). Threats and assurances in crisis bargaining. Journal of conflict resolution, 61(2), 325-348.

Lax, David A. and James K. Sebenius. 1991. "Negotiating Through an Agent.'' Journal of Conflict Resolution 35(3): 474-493.

Lechner, Lisa, and Simon W├╝thrich. "Seal the Deal: Bargaining Positions, Institutional Design, and the Duration of Preferential Trade Negotiations." International Interactions 44.5 (2018): 833-861.

Post, Abigail. "Flying to Fail: Costly Signals and Air Power in Crisis Bargaining." Journal of Conflict Resolution 63.4 (2019): 869-895.

Putnam, Robert D. 1988. "Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games." International Organization 42 (3):427-60.

Schelling, Thomas. 1960. The Strategy of Conflict. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Schneider, Christina J. 2011. "Weak States and Institutionalized Bargaining Power in International Organizations" International Studies Quarterly 55(2): 331-355.

Sechser, Todd S. "Reputations and signaling in coercive bargaining." Journal of Conflict Resolution 62.2 (2018): 318-345.

Slapin, Jonathan B. 2009. "Exit, Voice, and Cooperation: Bargaining Power in International Organizations and Federal Systems." Journal of Theoretical Politics 21:187-211.

Voeten, Erik. 2001. "Outside Options and the Logic of Security Council Action." American Political Science Review 95(4): 845-58
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical thinking and analytical skills.
Advanced research skills.
Effective written and oral communication skills.
Autonomy, accountability and working with others
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Shaina Western
Tel: (0131 6)51 1578
Course secretaryMr Ethan Alexander
Tel: (0131 6)50 4001
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