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Governing Guns, Preventing Plunder: International Cooperation against Illicit Trade, Asif Efrat

Reviewed by Denise Garcia



Asif Efrat’s book offers a rigorous assessment of the most‐unresolved puzzles surrounding the illicit trade of goods and people. Even though the book addresses complex questions, it is written in a clear prose and straightforward style. It is a must‐read and an essential guide for scholars and policymakers working on illegal trade, an area in which secrecy and clandestine workings greatly complicate analysis. This book elucidates it, explaining first the extent of variation in government preferences on international regulation as a principal dependent variable that is then complemented by a second one on strength of international regulation.

Two central research questions guide this theoretical empirical work: the first is why it is so contentious to find commonly–agreed‐upon multilateral cooper­ation measures to combat illicit trade and why some governments oppose and some vehemently espouse them. The second is under what conditions coopera­tion occurs. The road to cooperation is long and arduous, as Efrat recognizes, and therefore, his analysis is premised upon a process that encompasses five stages: placing an issue on the international agenda; negotiations toward the adoption of a regulatory agreement to suppress a

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