Who Gets What?

Domestic Influences on International Negotiations Allocating Shared Resources

By Aslaug Asgeirsdottir

Subjects: International Relations, Environmental Politics, International Environmental Studies, Conflict Resolution
Series: SUNY series in Global Politics
Paperback : 9780791475409, 192 pages, July 2009
Hardcover : 9780791475393, 192 pages, August 2008

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

1.  Explaining Distributional Outcomes
The Importance of Distributional Conflicts
Theoretical Framework
Who Matters, How, and When
Marginal, Monitoring, and Information Costs
Norway and Iceland and the Global Capture Industry
Conflict over Common Fish Stocks
Tragedy of the Commons
The Fisheries and the Quest for International Cooperation

2.  Role of the Law of the Sea and the Straddling Stocks
Agreement in Determining Distributive Outcomes
Law of the Sea Prior to 1982
The Third UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
Rights and Duties Imposed by the 1982 Law of the Sea
The Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks
Role of International Law in the Negotiating Process
Regional Fisheries Bodies and the Role of Science

3.  The Decline of Norwegian Fishing Interests
Norway’s Place in the International System
The Actors: Government, Scientists, and Interest Groups
Structure of the Norwegian Fishing Industry
Interest Group Organization

4.  Dictating Policy and Influencing Outcomes in Iceland
Icelandic Fisheries Policy before the 200-Mile EEZ
Policy after the 200-mile Extension
The Actors: Government, Scientists, and Interest Groups
Structure of the Icelandic Fishing Industry
The Interest Groups

5.  Interest-Group Power and its Impact on the International Allocation of Shared Fish Stocks
Oceanic Redfish

6.  Conclusions
Broadening the Research Question
Same Issue Area and Changes over Time
The International Arena
Further Analysis of International Cooperation


Examines the domestic constraints negotiators operate under when nations seek to cooperate.


During international bargaining, who gets the better deal, and why, is one of the questions at the heart of the study of international cooperation. In Who Gets What? Áslaug Ásgeirsdóttir analyzes seven agreements signed throughout a twenty-year span between Iceland and Norway to allocate shared fish stocks. While the Law of the Sea regime provides specific solution concepts for negotiators, it does not dictate the final outcome. Looking at the actual negotiation process and the political and economic constraints negotiators operate under, Ásgeirsdóttir examines how domestic interest groups can directly influence the negotiating process, and thus affect international agreements over scarce resources. Who Gets What? demonstrates empirically that a nation with more domestic constraints on its negotiators gets a better deal.

Áslaug Ásgeirsdóttir is Associate Professor of Political Science at Bates College.


"The author's argument, in which domestic constraints provided by nongovernmental veto players help states gain their preferred outcome, is an elegant explanation that will be useful in examining a wide range of international negotiations. " — Elizabeth R. DeSombre, author of Global Environmental Institutions