European Legal Studies Center
Regime theory is an approach within international relations theory, a sub-discipline of political science, which seeks to explain the occurrence of co-operation among States by focusing on the role that regimes play in mitigating international anarchy and overcoming various collective action problems among States (International Relations, Principal Theories; State; see also Co-operation, International Law of). Different schools of thought within international relations have emerged, and various analytical approaches exist within the regime theory itself (see Sec. F.3 below). However, typically regime theory is associated with neoliberal institutionalism that builds on a premise that regimes are central in facilitating international co-operation and constraining the behaviour of States. Thus, in international relations literature, regime theory is often used interchangeably with the terms ‘institutionalism’ or ‘neoliberal institutionalism’.
Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, February 2007
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