The International Regimes Database: Designing and Using a Sophisticated Tool for Institutional Analysis

This article presents the International Regimes Database (IRD), an analytical tool designed to (i) move regime analysis from its current emphasis on the use of discrete case studies to the use of a relational database encompassing comparable data on a large number of cases and (ii) facilitate quantitative as well as qualitative analyses of hypotheses dealing with international regimes. The article describes the architecture of this database, introduces some preliminary findings relating to compliance, decision rules, and programmatic activities, and discusses methodological issues pertaining to the use of the database on the part of other scholars. It provides a short and easily accessible introduction to the book-length treatment of the IRD contained in: Helmut Breitmeier, Oran R. Young, and Michael Zürn, Analyzing International Environmental Regimes, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006.