Chaim D. Kaufman and Robert A. Pape, “Explaining Costly International Moral Action,” International Organization, 53, 4 (Autumn 1999), pp. 631-668.
The British campaign against the Atlantic slave trade highlights the importance of domestic politics. The cause of the abolitionist movement was initially motivated by religious concern for the nation's moral survival. But the movement was institutionalized over time; the government's inability to focus on other issues such as free trade kept the abolitionist movement at the forefront of political concerns.
In this article, international moral action is justified on moral grounds and also, on balance, injures the material interests of the citizens of the acting state. The proposed model is one of costly international moral action that assigns major roles to ideas and domestic politics, but does not rely on transnational links or cosmpolitan ethics. Costly international moral action results from the belief that the home nation is itself corrupt and needs reform so that short-run material benefits can be outweighed by long-term virtuousity.
Theory presented here supports moral actions pioneered unilaterally by a single powerful state rather than multilateral agreement and driven internally in that state than as a result of the spread of an international moral consensus.