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Why do sovereign governments make international legal commitments, and what impact does international law have on state behavior? Very little empirical research exists that tries to answer these questions in a systematic way. The research in this Article examines patterns of commitment to and compliance with international monetary law. Countries commit themselves legally to liberal monetary policies not only to signal an intention to comply, but also because other governments so commit (an example of policy convergence). They comply largely to preserve their reputation for providing a stable framework for the protection of property rights, but once again, are greatly influenced by the compliance record of neighboring governments. Legal commitment has a tremendous positive impact on governments that have recently removed restrictive policies, indicative of a desire to reestablish a reputation for compliance. Competitive market forces, rather than overt policy pressure from the International Monetary Fund, are the most likely "enforcement" mechanism.

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Yale Journal of International Law