John K. Setear

  • Class of 1962 Professor of Law

John Setear joined the Law School as professor of law in 1998. He primarily teaches courses in international law, including international environmental law and counterfactual diplomatic history.

Setear joined the faculty of UCLA Law School in 1991 after serving as a policy analyst in the behavioral sciences department of the RAND Corporation. During the 1995-96 academic year, he was a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He taught a winter study course at Williams College in 1989, 1990, and 2003.

While in law school, Setear was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. Following graduation, he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Judge Carl McGowan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Scholarship Profile: Explaining the Game of International Law and Politics (Virginia Journal 2008)


  • J.D.
    Yale Law School
  • B.A.
    Williams College

Book Chapters

Constraints (with Richard E. Darilek), in Conventional Arms Control and East-West Security, Duke University Press, 379–404 (1989).
Quantitative Modeling and Non-Provocative Defense, in Non-Provocative Defense as a Principle of Arms Reduction and Its Implications for Assessing Defence Technologies, Free University Press, 87–98 (1989).

Articles & Reviews

Carlin and Collapse, 101 American Society of International Law Proceedings 171–172 (2007).
In-Version, 58 Stanford Law Review 1721–1729 (2006).
Room for Law: Realism, Evolutionary Biology, and the Promise(s) of International Law, 23 Berkeley Journal of International Law 1–46 (2005).
Treaties, Custom, Iteration, and Public Choice, 5 Chicago Journal of International Law 715–736 (2005).
Can Legalization Last?: Whaling and the Durability of National (Executive) Discretion, 44 Virginia Journal of International Law 711–757 (2004).
Learning to Live with Losing: International Environmental Law at the New Millennium, 20 Virginia Environmental Law Journal 139–167 (2001).
Treaties, Custom, Rational Choice, and Public Choice, 94 American Society of International Law Proceedings 187–188 (2000).
Ozone, Iteration, and International Law, 40 Virginia Journal of International Law 193–309 (1999).
A Game of Urban Drug Policy (with James P. Kahan & C. Peter Rydell), 1 Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 275–290 (1995).
Comments on Judges' Opinions on Procedural Issues, 69 Boston University Law Review 765–780 (1989).

Reports & Datasets

Developing Games of Local Drug Policy (with M. M. Bitzinger et al.), RAND Corporation (1992).
The Army in a Changing World: The Role of Organizational Vision (with Melinda D. Baccus, Carl H. Builder & E. Wayne Madewell), RAND Corporation (1990).
Arms Control Constraints for Conventional Forces in Europe (with Richard E. Darilek), RAND Corporation (1990).
Simulating the Fog of War, RAND Corporation (1989).

Current Courses

All Courses

Colloquium in International Relations Theory (seminar)
Environmental Drafting and Negotiating (seminar)
Global Warming (seminar)
How We Get Into War (seminar)
International Environmental Law
International Ifs: Historical Hypothetical (seminar)
International Law
Seminar in Ethical Values
War Crimes (seminar)



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