The Samir Kuntar Prisoner Exchange and the Law of Moral Hazard
There is one book that I have my classes in international business as well as public international law both read (actually, I read it aloud to them and later give them a pop quiz), If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. It is the single finest book on incentives and moral hazard available, I believe:
If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk.
And it doesn’t stop there, of course. Reward behavior and you’ll get more of it.
Update: Ben Davis comments:
Folks, if we get into comparative awfulness or comparative virtue about Israel and the Palestinians, this will never end. There are people on each side who think they are the angels and the others are the devils. And are absolutely certain about their view. So rather than rehash this path again and the debates about the breaches of the instruments that demonstrate under sets of views illegal actions by this side or that side, is there a possibility of going to some kind of third space on this that moves the ball farther up the field towards some assistance with building a long-term peace that is meaningful for all the parties?
Point taken. But in broadening this out, let me ask if anyone would like to respond to the more general observation, which is about the decision between immediate actions and the incentives or disincentives created by those immediate actions. It is a fundamental question for many of the debates in international affairs, and international law, since that law seeks (whether wittingly or not) to structure incentives.