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The Accession Games: A Comparison of Three Limited-Information Negotiation Designs

Arzu Kibris, Meltem Müftüler Baç
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1528-3585.2011.00437.x 399-427 First published online: 1 November 2011


We analyze the EU enlargement process from a rational institutionalist perspective and argue that the accession negotiations are designed to resolve the uncertainty that the existing EU members have in terms of the candidate's preferences. We model the negotiations as a Bayesian game and demonstrate how exactly the design in place helps the European Union in gathering information about the candidate country. Our model also enables us to compare alternative negotiation designs in terms of their ability to alleviate informational problems. We compare the resulting equilibrium payoffs under different negotiation designs to see whether there is any ground for a player to prefer a particular design over others. Our analysis supports the earlier arguments in the literature about the informative role of accession negotiations and demonstrates how exactly the negotiations carry out this role.

  • European Union
  • enlargement
  • Bayesian games
  • rational institutionalism
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