The Effectiveness of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime – An Institutionalist Analysis

  • Sascha Sauerteig

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Nuclear weapons are the most destructive weapons in military history. Their threat to human kind is at the core of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The regime is aimed at countering the spread of nuclear weapons and advancing their disarmament, while supporting the peaceful use of nuclear energy. State compliance is built upon three systems of cooperation: 1. The commitment system refers to what states commit (not) to do in order to counter nuclear weapons; 2. The verification system contains the monitoring and verification of compliance; 3. The enforcement system provides for responses to cases of non-compliance by a state.

This thesis analyzes the effectiveness of the non-proliferation regime by assessing and explaining states’ commitment to and their compliance with the regime. The work comprises a qualitative study of the regime’s three systems (commitment, verification, and enforcement) including an evaluation of different institutionalist modes of explanation for state behavior (security, norms, economics, and status). By developing a three-dimensional model to assess regime effectiveness, the work offers a conceptual contribution for the study of security regimes. At the same time, applying different perspectives for (non-)cooperation allows for a better understanding of state behavior within the non-proliferation regime.
Date of Award20 Nov 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorDavid Galbreath (Supervisor) & Benoît Pelopidas (Supervisor)


  • Nuclear Weapons
  • International Regimes
  • Regime Effectiveness
  • Verification
  • Enforcement
  • International Cooperation

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