Taking Preferences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International Politics

  title={Taking Preferences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International Politics},
  author={Andrew M. Moravcsik},
  journal={International Organization},
  • A. Moravcsik
  • Published 1 September 1997
  • Sociology
  • International Organization
This article reformulates liberal international relations (IR) theory in a nonideological and nonutopian form appropriate to empirical social science. Liberal IR theory elaborates the insight that state-society relations—the relationship of states to the domestic and transnational social context in which they are embedded—have a fundamental impact on state behavior in world politics. Societal ideas, interests, and institutions influence state behavior by shaping state preferences, that is… 

Figures from this paper

Liberal internationalism: from ideology to empirical theory – and back again
  • B. Jahn
  • Sociology
    International Theory
  • 2009
This article shows that Andrew Moravcsik’s ‘nonideological’ formulation of a liberal theory of international relations is itself deeply ideological – both in terms of his own criteria and in terms of
Taking the System Seriously: Another Liberal Theory of International Politics
Liberals have discovered the system level of analysis. Two somewhat competing strands of system-level liberal scholarship have emerged. The first emphasizes the system's normative dynamics and the
A Foreign Policy Analysis Perspective on the Domestic Politics Turn in IR Theory
Over the last 25 years, there has been a noteworthy turn across major International Relations (IR) theories to include domestic politics and decision-making factors. Neoclassical realism and variants
The Nexus of Market Society, Liberal Preferences, and Democratic Peace: Interdisciplinary Theory and Evidence
Drawing on literature from Anthropology, Economics, Political Science and Sociology, an interdisciplinary theory is presented that links the rise of contractual forms of exchange within a society
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on International Law and International Relations: Liberal Theories of International Law
Liberal theories of international relations (IR) focus on the demands of individuals and social groups, and their relative power in society, as fundamental forces driving state policy. For liberals,
The International Wanderings of a Liberal Idea, or Why Liberals Can Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Balance of Power
Scholars in international relations have failed to note a paradox about the balance of power: the concept of checks and balances and equilibria underlie classical Liberal constitutional and economic
On Systemic Paradigms and Domestic Politics
fertile time for new thinking about how to incorporate domestic politics into international relations theory. First, in “Taking Preferences Seriously,” Andrew Moravcsik formulated a new paradigm to
Liberalism and Economic Growth: A Theoretical Exploration
This article explores how the liberal tradition of political thought has dealt with the prospect of limits to economic growth and how it should approach this issue in the future. Using Andrew
Refining domestic politics theories of IPE: A societal approach to governmental preferences
Domestic politics theories of international political economy and the recent disruptions in international cooperation and trade apparently induced by domestic discontent have shown the crucial role
Neoclassical realism and theories of foreign policy
Although international relations theory has been dominated for two decades by debates over theories of international politics, recently there has been a surge of interest in theories of foreign


Passions and Constraint: On the Theory of Liberal Democracy
A collection of essays on the core values of liberalism which challenges assumptions about liberal theory. By placing it into its original historical context, this text presents an interconnected
Building on a growing literature in international political science, I reexamine the traditional liberal claim that governments founded on a respect for individual liberty exercise “restraint†and
The economic limits to modern politics: International liberalism reconsidered
World politics both creates opportunities for modern governments and imposes constraints on the range of actions that it is feasible for them to pursue. One way to think about these opportunities and
Social Theory of International Politics
Drawing upon philosophy and social theory, Social Theory of International Politics develops a theory of the international system as a social construction. Alexander Wendt clarifies the central claims
Social Choice and System Structure in World Politics
This paper analyzes the implications of social choice theory for the study of world politics. A view of the world system as a social choice mechanism leads to the observation that the outcomes of
International regimes, transactions, and change: embedded liberalism in the postwar economic order
The prevailing model of international economic regimes is strictly positivistic in its epistemological orientation and stresses the distribution of material power capabilities in its explanatory
Europe Before the Court: A Political Theory of Legal Integration
The European Court of Justice has been the dark horse of European integration, quietly transforming the Treaty of Rome into a European Community (EC) constitution and steadily increasing the impact
Collective Identity Formation and the International State
The neorealist-neoliberal debate about the possibilities for collective action in international relations has been based on a shared commitment to Mancur Olson's rationalist definition of the problem
The second image reversed: the international sources of domestic politics
The international system is not only an expression of domestic structures, but a cause of them. Two schools of analysis exploring the impact of the international system upon domestic politics (regime
International Law in a World of Liberal States
International law and international politics cohabit the same conceptual space. Together they comprise the rules and the reality of 'the international system', an intellectual construct that lawyers,