Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

D. M. Warren

Second Advisor

R. Mazur


How can cooperation among states be explained? This study investigates the emergence of norms of cooperation at the international level. It utilizes superordinate conditions to explain voluntary cooperation among state in the absence of a sovereign;Literature relating to the generation of norms at the international level are reviewed from the areas of sociology, social psychology, game theory, and regime theory. Based on the review of the literature, a model employing superordinate goal theory is developed, along with independent and dependent variables;A data set consisting of 26 cases is developed from three category areas covering environmental, economic, and political and military issues;The study showed that cooperative norms in the form of conventions, treaties or agreements among states when they interact in the presence of superordinate conditions. That is, a condition where states face a mutual threat, or problem that is so critical, that it cannot be ignored, and which can only be solved through their joint cooperation. Some differences were observed among the three category areas, as to when a superordinate condition was more likely to produce formal cooperation;It appears for environmental, and political and military issues, that urgent or crisis level threats are more likely to result in conventions or treaties. On the other hand, low levels of threat appear to produce conventions or treaties for general economic issues;Several recommendations are made with respect to applications to global problems, including the need for training simulations that teach the use of superordinate goals, for diplomats and other practitioners involved with conflict resolution;The study was supported by the United States Institute of Peace, Jennings Randolph Program for International Peace.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Daniel Steven Bahr



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

179 pages