“Power or Authority; Actions or Beliefs”

in International Court Authority. K. Alter, L. Helfer & M. R. Madsen. New York, Oxford University Press: 412-421. Institutional, political and social circumstances affect the impact of international courts (‘ICs’). The valuable and intellectually intriguing aim of the project in this volume, ‘The Variable Authority of International Courts’ is to develop and apply a metric to assess the effects of some of these contexts.
The chapter discusses two questions concerning the project. What do they seek to measure with their metric – and are the findings actually about authority? Furthermore, AHM go to great lengths to proclaim methodological agnosticism about actors’ beliefs and motives, and argue for the irrelevance of normative legitimacy for this research project. Yet the former claim seems incorrect and the second is both unnecessary and ill defended. [D0I/LINK] [SSRN] [WEB].