Why do sovereign governments make international legal commitments, and what effect does international law have on state behavior? Very little empirical research tries to answer these questions in a systematic way. This article examines patterns of commitment to and compliance with international monetary law. I consider the signal governments try to send by committing themselves through international legal commitments, and I argue that reputational concerns explain patterns of compliance.
One of the most important findings is that governments commit to and comply with legal obligations if other countries in their region do so. Competitive market forces, rather than overt policy pressure from the International Monetary Fund, are the most likely "enforcement" mechanism. Legal commitment has an extremely positive effect on governments that have recently removed restrictive policies, which indicates a desire to reestablish a reputation for compliance.
Simmons, Beth A. "International Law and State Behavior: Commitment and Compliance in International Monetary Affairs." American Political Science Review, 94:4 (2000): 819-35.