Despite high aspirations among political leaders, lawyers and others for a rules-based international order, a major new study from researchers at York University finds that the 250,000 existing treaties designed to foster international cooperation have mostly been ineffective. One big exception, however, is in the area of trade and finance, where negotiators wisely put meat on the bones of the commitments by including meaningful enforcement mechanisms. As a result, the researchers found, these international agreements were effective in increasing commerce and global prosperity.

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