Open Economies Review

, Volume 17, Issue 4–5, pp 459–475 | Cite as

Explaining Compliance with G8 Finance Commitments: Agency, Institutionalization and Structure

  • John KirtonEmail author


Do the world’s major powers keep the international commitments they make? To provide an answer, this study constructs and tests a multilevel model of the course and causes of member country’s compliance with the finance commitments they make at the Group of Eight (G8) major democracies’ annual summit. It first examines how G8 leaders deliberatively craft their commitments in ways that embed “compliance catalysts” designed to improve the chances that their commitments will be complied with during the following year. It then explores how the work of the G8’s ministerial institution for finance improves the compliance the leaders’ commitments receive. It finally assesses the distribution of vulnerability and capability in the international system to determine if agency and institutions act autonomously, or are predetermined or overwhelmed by system structure in causing G8 “promises made” to become G8 “promises kept”. The analysis concludes that G8 agency and institutionalization matter, while system structure has only an indirect impact. When leaders at their summit embed their finance commitment with a specific timetable to be met, and with a priority placement in their declaration, greater compliance comes. When their G7/8 finance ministers remember and repeat the same commitment in the year before and in the year after the summit, compliance rises as well. A combination of increasingly equal vulnerability and capability among the G8 members inspires finance ministers to remember and repeat such commitments, but does not directly increase compliance. Thus compliance is largely endogenous to the G8, driven by agency and institutionalization, and not directly by structural forces in the wider world. The G8 remains a leader’s summit after all.


G7 summits international policy coordination 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abbott, K.W., R. Keohane, A. Moravcsik et al. (2000) “The Concept of Legalization.” International Organization 54(3):401–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baliamoune, Mina (2000) “Economics of Summitry: An Empirical Assessment of the Economic Effects of Summits.” Empirica 27:295–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bayne, Nicholas (1999) “Continuity and Leadership in an Age of Globalisation.” In M.R. Hodges, J.J. Kirton and J.P. Daniels (eds.), The G8's Role in the New Millennium. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 21–44.Google Scholar
  4. Bergsten, C. Fred and C. Randall Henning (1996) Global Economic Leadership and the Group of Seven. Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics.Google Scholar
  5. Buxton, G.V. (1992) “Sustainable Development and the Summit: A Canadian Perspective on Progress.” International Journal, XLVII (4)(Fall):776–795.Google Scholar
  6. Daniels, Joe (1993) The Meaning and Reliability of Economic Summit Undertakings. Hamden, CT: Garland Publishing.Google Scholar
  7. Fratianni, Michele and Heejoon Kang (2005) “Borders and International Terrorism.” In Michele Fratianni, John Kirton, Alan Rugman, and Paolo Savona (eds.), New Perspectives on Global Governance: Why America Needs to G8. Ashgate: Aldershot, pp. 119–135.Google Scholar
  8. Fratianni, Michele, Paolo Savona, and John Kirton (eds.) (2003) Sustaining Global Growth and Development: G7 and IMF Challenges and Contributions. Ashgate: Aldershot.Google Scholar
  9. G8 Research Group (1996–) Compliance Assessment (
  10. Ikenberry, John (1988) “Market Solutions for State Problems: The International and Domestic Politics of American Oil Decontrol.” International Organization 42(Winter):151–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Juricevic, Diana (2000a) “Compliance with G8 Commitments: Ascertaining the Degree of Compliance With Summit Debt and International Trade Commitments for Canada and the United States 1996–1999.” June 24.Google Scholar
  12. Juricevic, Diana (2000b) “Controlling for Domestic-Level Commitments: An Analysis of the Authoritative National Commitments Made in Canada and the United States from 1995–2000.” November 7.Google Scholar
  13. Keohane, Robert and Joseph Nye (1977) Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  14. Kirton, John (2005) “Toward Multilateral Reform: The G20's Contribution.” In Andrew Cooper, John English, and Ramesh Thakur (eds.), Reforming from the Top: A Leaders' 20 Summit. Tokyo: United Nations University Press, pp. 141–168.Google Scholar
  15. Kirton, John (2004) “Explaining G8 Effectiveness: A Concert of Vulnerable Equals in a Globalizing World.” Paper prepared for the 45th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, Montreal, March 17–20.Google Scholar
  16. Kirton, John (1993), “The Seven Power Summits as a New Security Institution.” In D. Dewitt, D. Haglund, and J.J. Kirton (eds.), Building a New Global Order: Emerging Trends in International Security. Toronto: Oxford University Press, pp. 335–357.Google Scholar
  17. Kirton, John (1989) “Contemporary Concert Diplomacy: The Seven-Power Summit and the Management of International Order.” Paper prepared for the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, 29 March–1 April. London.
  18. Kirton, John and Ella Kokotsis (forthcoming) “Keeping Faith with Africa's Health: Catalyzing G8 Compliance.” In John Kirton, Andrew Cooper and Ted Schrecker (eds.), Governing Global Health. Ashgate: Aldershot.Google Scholar
  19. Kirton, John and Ella Kokotsis (2004) “Keeping Faith with Africa: Assessing Compliance with the G8's Commitments at Kananaskis and Evian.” In Princeton Lyman and Robert Browne (eds.), Freedom, Prosperity and Security: The G8 Partnership with Africa. New York: Council on Foreign Relations.Google Scholar
  20. Kirton, John and Ella Kokotsis (2003) “Producing International Commitments and Compliance without Legalization: G7/8 Performance from 1975 to 2002.” Paper prepared for the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, Portland, Oregon, March 1.Google Scholar
  21. Kirton, John, Ella Kokotsis, and Diana Juricevic (2002) “G7/G8 Commitments and Their Significance.” In John Kirton, Michele Fratianni and Paola Savona (eds.), Governing Global Finance: New Challenges, G7 and IMF Contributions. Ashgate: Aldershot, pp. 227–231.Google Scholar
  22. Kirton, John, Ella Kokotsis, and Diana Juricevic (2002) “Okinawa's Promises Kept: The 2001 G8 Compliance Report.” In John Kirton and Junichi Takase (eds.), New Directions in Global Political Governance. Ashgate: Aldershot, pp. 269–280.Google Scholar
  23. Kirton, John, Ella Kokotsis, Gina Stevens, and Diana Juricevic (2004) “The G8 and Conflict Prevention: Commitment, Compliance and Systemic Contribution.” In The G8, the United Nations and Conflict Prevention. Ashgate: Aldershot, pp. 59–84.Google Scholar
  24. Kokotsis, Ella (2004) “Explaining G8 Effectiveness: The Democratic Institutionalist Model of Compliance with G8 Commitments.” Paper prepared for the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, Montreal, March 18.Google Scholar
  25. Kokotsis, Ella (1995) “Keeping Sustainable Development Commitments: The Recent G7 Record.” In John Kirton and Sarah Richardson (eds.), The Halifax Summit, Sustainable Development and International Institutional Reform. Ottawa: National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, pp. 117–133.Google Scholar
  26. Kokotsis, Ella (1999) Keeping International Commitments: Compliance, Credibility and the G7, 1988–1995, New York: Garland.Google Scholar
  27. Kokotsis, Ella and Joseph Daniels (1999) “G8 Summits and Compliance.” In Michael Hodges and John Kirton, The G8's Role in the New Millennium. Ashgate: Aldershot, pp. 75–94.Google Scholar
  28. Kokotsis, Ella and John Kirton (1997) “National Compliance with Environmental Regimes: The Case of the G7, 1988–1995.” Paper prepared for the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, Toronto, March 18–22.Google Scholar
  29. Labonte, Ronald and Ted Schrecker (2005) The G8, Africa and Global Health: A Platform for Global Health Equity for the 2005 Summit. London: Nuffield Trust, 28 February
  30. Labonte, Ronald and Ted Schrecker (2004) “Committed to Health for All? How the G7/G8 Rate.” Social Science and Medicine 59:1661–1676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Labonte, Ronald, Ted Schrecker, David Sanders and W. Meeus (2004) Fatal Indifference: The G8, Africa and Global Health Cape. Town: University of Cape Town Press/IDRC Books, January.Google Scholar
  32. Labonte, Ronald, David Sanders and Ted Schrecker (2002) “Health and development: How are the G7/G8 doing?” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 56(5):322–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Li, Quan (2001) “Commitment Compliance in G7 Summit Macroeconomic Policy Coordination.” Political Research Quarterly 54(June):355–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Putnam, Robert and Nicholas Bayne (eds). (1987) Hanging Together: Co-operation and Conflict in the Seven-Power Summit, 2nd ed. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  35. Von Furstenberg, George and Joseph Daniels (1992a) “Can You Trust G7 Promises?” International Economic Insights 3(September/October):24–27.Google Scholar
  36. Von Furstenberg, George and Joseph Daniels (1992b) Economic Summit Declarations, 1975–1989: Examining the Written Record of International Co-operation. Princeton Studies in International Finance 72, Princeton, N.J., Department of Economics.Google Scholar
  37. Von Furstenberg, George and Joseph Daniels (1991) “Policy Undertakings by the Seven “Summit” Countries: Ascertaining the Degree of Compliance.” Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series of Public Policy, 35:267–308, North Holland.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.G8 Research GroupTrinity College, University of TorontoOntarioCanada

Personalised recommendations